See also: defënd and défend



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


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈfɛnd/
  • (US) IPA(key): /dɛˈfɛnd/, /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 edition 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).
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.viii:
      The vertue is, that neither steele, nor stone / The stroke thereof from entrance may defend [].
  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 (in Middle English):
      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
      (please add an English translation of this quote)



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