From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: defënd and défend



From Middle English defenden, from Old French defendre, deffendre (Modern French défendre), from Latin dēfendō (to ward off), from Proto-Italic *fendō, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gʷʰen-. Displaced native Old English bewerian.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈfɛnd/
  • (US) IPA(key): /dɪˈfɛnd/, /diˈfɛnd/, /dəˈfɛnd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd


defend (third-person singular simple present defends, present participle defending, simple past and past participle defended)

  1. (transitive) To ward off attacks against; to fight to protect; to guard.
    • 2019 July 15, Greg Afinogenov, “The Jewish Case for Open Borders”, in Jewish Currents[1], number Summer 2019:
      Most Zionists hoped for a state of their own, but early in the 20th century, writers like Hillel Solotaroff and Chaim Zhitlowsky, both Yiddish-speaking immigrant intellectuals in New York, imagined another alternative: a federation of self-governing anarchist communes in Palestine that would defend Jewish life without relying on state power.
  2. (transitive) To support by words or writing; to vindicate, talk in favour of.
  3. (transitive, law) To make legal defence of; to represent (the accused).
  4. (sports) To focus one's energies and talents on preventing opponents from scoring, as opposed to focusing on scoring.
  5. (sports) To attempt to retain a title, or attempt to reach the same stage in a competition as one did in the previous instance of that competition.
  6. (poker slang) To call a raise from the big blind.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To ward off, repel (an attack or attacker).
  8. (transitive, obsolete) To prevent, to keep (from doing something).
  9. (transitive, intransitive, obsolete) To prohibit, forbid.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, “ij”, in Le Morte Darthur, book XVIII:
      Broder said sir launcelot wete ye wel I am ful lothe to departe oute of this realme / but the quene hath defended me soo hyhely / that me semeth she wille neuer be my good lady as she hath ben
      “Brother”, said Sir Launcelot, “you know full well that I would be very reluctant to leave this kingdom, were it not that the queen had forbidden me so strongly to remain here, that it seems to me that she will never again be my lover as once she was”



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]