Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


Alternative forms[edit]


From French défense, from Latin defensa (protection).



defence (countable and uncountable, plural defences) (British spelling)

  1. The action of defending, of protecting from attack, danger or injury.
    • Shakespeare
      In cases of defence 'tis best to weigh / The enemy more mighty than he seems.
  2. Something used to oppose attack(s).
    • 1592—1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet XII:
      And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
      Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
  3. An argument in support or justification of something.
    • 2016 June 11, Phil McNulty, “England 1-1 Russia”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      In Hodgson's defence, it must be stated that in large parts this was a vibrant, energetic performance with the emphasis almost exclusively on attack.
    • 1592—1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet LXXXIX:
      Speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt,
      Against thy reasons making no defence.
  4. (team sports) A strategy and tactics employed to prevent the other team from scoring; contrasted with offence.
  5. (team sports) The portion of a team dedicated to preventing the other team from scoring; contrasted with offence.
  6. Government policy or (infra)structure related to the military.
    Department of Defence
  7. (obsolete) Prohibition; a prohibitory ordinance.
    • Sir W. Temple
      Severe defences [] against wearing any linen under a certain breadth.



Derived terms[edit]



defence (third-person singular simple present defences, present participle defencing, simple past and past participle defenced)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To furnish with defences; to fortify.
    • Hales:
      Better manned and more strongly defenced.