Definition of defence in English:

defence

(US defense)

noun

  • 1[mass noun] The action of defending from or resisting attack:

    ‘methods of defence against this kind of attack’
    ‘she came to the defence of the eccentric professor’
    ‘he spoke in defence of a disciplined approach’
    • ‘All they were doing was acting in their own defence and in defence of each other.’
    • ‘There's a danger that this stand in defence of reason could be subsumed by some of the other unreasonable trends of our time.’
    • ‘As in America, the citizens' militia was an integral part of a patriot ideology that extolled the right of a free people to bear arms in defence of liberty.’
    • ‘It is a battle in defence of reason and objectivity, the very basis of all scientific enquiry.’
    • ‘My article was rather a statement not just in my own defence, but in defence of the whole tradition of the kind of fiction that I belong to.’
    • ‘As in sport, T.J. was always ready to stand his ground in defence of his sincerely held beliefs.’
    • ‘At present, the law allows homeowners to use only ‘reasonable force’ in defence of themselves and their homes.’
    • ‘This poses an important test for those of us who want to make a consistent stand in defence of liberties during the second term.’
    • ‘Were they standing firm in defence of our traditional country sports?’
    • ‘Unlike the police, they act only in defence of private places.’
    • ‘We will match their determination with our own; we will be as resolute as they are fanatical; as strong in defence of good as they are hell-bent on doing evil.’
    • ‘Surely that is enough reason for our elected representatives to act in defence of our safety?’
    • ‘But we need to go much further in defence of freedom.’
    • ‘The defendant was taking the moral high ground by volunteering for imprisonment in defence of his position.’
    • ‘One player is not going to score all the goals, be the toughest player, play defense and stop the puck.’
    • ‘She was adamant that her brother had fallen in defence of our two countries, the land of his birth and England, the land of his ancestors.’
    • ‘At our meeting, Mr. Hansen presented a number of rationales in defence of the proposed increase in holding capacity.’
    • ‘The county court upheld her suspension, and at the end of November the state's supreme court refused to hear the case she had lodged in defence of free speech.’
    • ‘The first tablet was unveiled in the Parish Church some months ago and is a memorial to the brave fellows who lost their lives in defence of their country's interests.’
    • ‘It is important that people support this case financially so that a precedent in defence of our rights can be established.’
    vindication, justification, support, advocacy, approval, endorsement, promotion
    protection, shielding, safeguarding, guarding
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[count noun] An instance of defending a title or seat in a contest or election:
      ‘his first title defence against Jones’
      • ‘Only one of his 7 title defenses have gone the distance.’
      • ‘Better still, Glasgow should now recognise the man who has now stretched his Scottish record of world title defences to seven.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, eight consecutive title defences over the following two years put paid to any suggestion that Ali was not a worthy champion.’
      • ‘On top of that he made 20 consecutive title defenses during his seven year reign as heavyweight champion, only Joe Louis made more with 25.’
      • ‘Artur, you are one of boxing's longest reigning champions with 17 title defenses.’
      • ‘His major targets for 2004 are the state and national titles and a defence of the zone titles.’
      • ‘His seven-year reign and 19 successful title defences constitute a record for the 115-pound division.’
      • ‘Five of his title defences have come against last weeks opponent or against Joichiro Tatsuyoshi from whom he won the title.’
      • ‘Goosen warmed up for next week's US Masters with an admirable defence of the title.’
      • ‘Shabaani will be making a first defence of the title he won by a stoppage of Ferid Jeddau in Italy this year to improve his unbeaten fight record to 15 fights.’
      • ‘Two title defences on home soil preceded the launch of McGuigan in Las Vegas, outdoors at Caesars Palace.’
      • ‘Fast forward to the present day and it turns out that the current European Championships are staging a whole host of title defences.’
      • ‘Gulliver has set herself high standards and will be sure to make a resolute defence of her title and the Grand Slam.’
      • ‘And, of course, Mike and Kitty are the proud possessors of Jim's Lonsdale Belt won for those successful defences on his British title.’
      • ‘The home-crowd advantage should lead the Canadian women to a successful defence of the title.’
      • ‘Hopkins has earned his status as one of the all-time middleweight greats by remaining unbeaten through world title defences spanning over a decade.’
      • ‘He will also equal Jim Watt's record of four successful title defences.’
      • ‘Between the two they've made 42 title defenses.’
      • ‘He hints that his place in the pantheon is not yet secure, though Saturday's contest will extend to eight his record of world title defences.’
      • ‘But they are not harbouring thoughts that they will have an easy defence of the title.’
    2. 1.2 Military measures or resources for protecting a country:
      ‘the minister of defence’
      [as modifier] ‘defence policy’
      • ‘He encouraged members to increase interaction with civilians to gain their support for the nation's defense policy and military build-up plans.’
      • ‘The general is also the prime minister and defense minister in the military government.’
      • ‘Yet what opportunities were lost to a free France and Britain and the Low Countries before 1940 to re-arm and negotiate military defense strategies?’
      • ‘In the case of air defense or offensive military equipment, waiting until friendly forces are engaged is too late to confirm disablement.’
      • ‘Those who formulate defense policy and military strategy must learn to see beyond the immediate and the obvious.’
      • ‘Military and defence issues are peripheral to the Nice Treaty, it has argued.’
      • ‘Most American defense planners naturally consider military predominance to be a major strength.’
      • ‘It also covers the more general matters of defence policy and strategy and military planning and intelligence.’
      • ‘The appropriate metaphor is no longer that of traditional military defense or even police protection.’
      • ‘Although Russia's defence minister had recommended military action, most of the generals were against it.’
      • ‘Technology will continue to be pervasive in national defense and warfare.’
      • ‘But this does not apply for military or defence operations or where the Council unanimously decides otherwise.’
      • ‘An upsurge of regular exchange visits between the top defense and military leaderships of the two countries followed.’
      • ‘We owe no less to the well-being of our nation's defense system and the military profession.’
      • ‘The gap is a function of demographics, strategy, defense spending, and military policy.’
      • ‘Even now each state, moreover, seeks to get ahead of other states as it deals with its military and defense problems.’
      • ‘In the nuclear world deterrence became not merely an element of defence and military strategy, but its defining feature.’
      • ‘Does active military involvement in defense policymaking actually threaten civilian control?’
      • ‘Differences in population growth create fundamental trends that influence military strategy and defence policy.’
      • ‘But military defense that protected only one state, or a small group of states, still is a public good.’
      armaments, weapons, weaponry, arms, military measures, military resources
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A means of protecting something from attack:
      ‘wire netting is the best defence against rabbits’
      • ‘Goannas use a sideswipe with their heavy tail as their main weapon of defence and have been known to break the leg of a pursuing dog.’
      • ‘The fort was built in 1793 under John Simcoe and was Toronto's main defence against an army of mindless marauders in 1812.’
      • ‘Everyone at the barrier, considered by Bogside people to be their main line of defence, was either dead or wounded.’
      • ‘His study identified a variety of ways that a bank employee could defeat the main line of defence in the central security system guarding PIN numbers.’
      • ‘The telephone survey of some 1,000 companies found that firewalls were the main line of defence against hackers for most companies.’
      • ‘The main defence against them is protective clothing - gas masks and special suits made of rubber or treated synthetic cloth.’
      • ‘Acquired immunity is the main physiological mechanism of defense available to vertebrates against parasites.’
      • ‘Your main defense against them is billions of acidophilus bacteria, your ‘good’ intestinal flora.’
      • ‘But as the disease spread out of control, authorities switched to vaccinations as the main form of defense, he added.’
      • ‘It coincides roughly with a series of military bases that form the main federal line of defense for South Texas.’
      • ‘With its blue back and silver flanks the garfish is well camouflaged, but its main anti-predator defence is its turn of speed.’
      • ‘Warrick said the Turks used the pine logs to cover their trenches in defence against the attacking Australians.’
      • ‘However, the main Japanese defense on Mount Tapotchau remained.’
      • ‘In woody plants, carbon-based chemical compounds such as phenolics and terpenes comprise the main chemical defence.’
      • ‘In between dodging the baddies, Lafcadia helps an old blind woman cross a river and meets up with a young thief, whose main line of defense is a pot of chili pepper - the original pepper spray.’
    4. 1.4defences Fortifications or barriers against attack:
      ‘coastal defences’
      • ‘You did not just sit behind your defences and let the attack overwhelm you: you fired back.’
      • ‘The Romans also developed tunnelling for military purposes, either by breaking through behind enemy defences or by undermining fortifications to cause their collapse.’
      • ‘These defences the Allied armies felt compelled to attack.’
      • ‘The goal was to destroy the enemy's will to fight by demonstrating our superiority and ability to attack into their strongpoint defenses in and around the city at will.’
      • ‘Outside the main defences lay large outworks such as the Terra Nova and Fort William.’
      • ‘He pronounced military defences ready for a potential missile attack, but said the risks of such a strike were slim.’
      • ‘In the first six months of 1944 Rommel strongly reinforced the defences and placed obstacles on all large beaches.’
      barricade, fortification, bulwark, buttress, fortress, fastness, keep, rampart, outpost, bastion
      View synonyms
  • 2The case presented by or on behalf of the party accused of a crime or being sued in a civil lawsuit:

    ‘the farmer's defence was that he intended only to wound the thief’
    • ‘In its defence the Third Party has admitted liability by the defendant but denies any obligation for contribution or indemnity.’
    • ‘So in one sense there would be very few defamation cases where a defence of qualified privilege could be raised.’
    • ‘It is a defence for an accused person to prove that his conduct was reasonable in the circumstances of the case.’
    • ‘In defamation the falsity of the libel or slander is presumed; but justification is a complete defence.’
    • ‘The defendant shall then be invited to respond by presenting his defence and may also call witnesses in support.’
    • ‘It is clear from the cases that the breach by the plaintiff is a complete defence to a claim that the defendant failed to perform its promise.’
    • ‘If successful such a defence leaves the third party liable to conviction on the basis of strict liability.’
    • ‘One of these standards is that an accused person must be given full opportunity to present his defence.’
    • ‘The defendant has entered a substantive defence pleading justification and qualified privilege.’
    • ‘Their second defence is that they were trying to prevent a crime, a defence allowed under the Criminal Law Act 1967.’
    • ‘But the Crown may just decide to go ahead and prosecute for murder, which itself allows the accused a defence of insanity that can lead to acquittal.’
    • ‘Others suggested that he was at fault for trying to present an alibi defense.’
    • ‘The only defence remaining alive at present is, therefore, I suggest, the disputed decision about qualifying privilege.’
    • ‘It may be said that there is an evidentiary onus on an accused person in raising a defence of alibi.’
    • ‘Given the way the accused conducted his defence, and the evidence, we do not think that any miscarriage of justice has occurred in this particular case.’
    • ‘Duress has been recognised as a general defence to all crimes except treason and murder.’
    • ‘It is clear law that in any context in which consent of the injured party is a defence to what would otherwise be a crime or a civil wrong, the consent must be real.’
    • ‘This is a common law claim for damages which is subject to a defence of mitigation.’
    • ‘Automatism is often regarded as a defence to crime rather than as an essential component of criminal conduct.’
    • ‘Truth is a defence for libel; civil suits are decided on the balance of probability, not beyond reasonable doubt.’
    rebuttal, denial
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1the defence[treated as singular or plural] The counsel for the defendant in a lawsuit:
      ‘the defence requested more time to prepare their case’
      • ‘But counsel for the defence did say that he did want a special verdict even though there were some perhaps equivocal remarks in relation to it.’
      • ‘He was then cross-examined by counsel for the defence.’
      • ‘At the request of the defence, she asked the police to obtain a forensic test of some evidence.’
      • ‘The fact is that it is not for the defence to have to request the prosecution to serve its evidence.’
      • ‘Requests by the defence to allow the three men to leave the country on security grounds pending this appeal have been denied.’
      • ‘Advocate Amin Solkar and Advocate Saeed Azami are the defence counsels in the case.’
      • ‘A second post-mortem has been carried out at the request of the defence and her body has now been released.’
      • ‘At the request of the defence it was searched at the beginning of the trial.’
      • ‘He pleaded not guilty, and reporting restrictions were lifted at the defence's request.’
      • ‘Although it heard the applicant on various issues, it did not rehear the witnesses, and the defence made no request that it should.’
      • ‘At the request of the defence, jurors considered a murder charge only.’
      • ‘George had been due back in court yesterday, but the defence and prosecution requested an adjournment until February 1st.’
      • ‘I can foresee Counsel for the defence making this point and nullifying my evidence.’
      • ‘In that fax, the Crown transmitted the defence request for disclosure of the audiotape and the booking videotape.’
      • ‘Later on the same day, the required documentation was sent by the plaintiff's solicitor to defence counsel.’
      • ‘The magistrates agreed to the defence counsel's application for the defendants' costs to be taxed and paid out of central funds.’
      • ‘He would then step down as counsel and become the hostile witness for the defence.’
      • ‘They were going to be told that in no uncertain way, in effect, by both counsel, the defence needing to respond to the way in which the Crown would properly put the case.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, at this week's court session the judge allowed the defence to provide a new experts report from specialists chosen by the Bulgarians.’
      • ‘The judge also left provocation to the jury, though the defence did not request this.’
  • 3(in sport) the action or role of defending one's goal or wicket against the opposition:

    ‘Wolves were pressed back into defence’
    • ‘Good goal keeping and a solid defence prevented Oakworth getting an equaliser.’
    • ‘He is the most consistent player on defense, and the team can't afford to lose him.’
    • ‘In defence Ilkley were largely solid and Ashton, Mark Houlston David Taylor and Beaumont all had good games.’
    • ‘Weak play on defense and special teams have made it difficult to be patient with the running game.’
    • ‘The White Sox usually rank near the bottom of the league in team defense but have reversed that trend.’
    • ‘Cochin Port Trust did not click as a team and ICF played a fast and neat game, but it needs taller players to survive in defence.’
    • ‘Their defense played a huge role in helping them reach the playoffs for the third time in Edwards' four seasons.’
    • ‘The Colombia goalkeeper marshalled a defence that conceded 21 goals in 34 league games.’
    • ‘In defence Kirkby looked solid thanks to their experienced and physical back four.’
    • ‘A lot of players won't play defense [if they're not scoring].’
    1. 3.1the defence The players in a team who defend the goal:
      ‘despite heavy pressure the defence was coping well’
      ‘Ford returns to United's defence’
      [count noun] ‘dribbling through defences’
      • ‘Stam played, and against a modest team United's defence conceded two goals.’
      • ‘This inevitably put the defence under pressure and this eventually led to York's second goal.’
      • ‘At the back, Robert Raeside is a key player in a defence that has only conceded nine goals.’
      • ‘Could they make the playoffs with this defense or is the team still a year or two away?’
      • ‘It purely comes down to the players - defending is not just about the defence, it requires the whole team to make an effort.’
      • ‘There was however much to admire in the performance of the team as a whole with the defence apart from the goals turning in a committed wholehearted performance.’
      • ‘Ben Greenhow got in behind the defence for the home team's best chance before the break, but powered his shot wide.’
      • ‘The Texans pinned their hopes on the defense and special teams, both of which came through in a big way.’
      • ‘And they can count on their defense and special teams to score only so many touchdowns.’
      • ‘After their early progress, Charlton were finding it difficult to get out of their own half and relieve some pressure on the defence.’
      • ‘Yass attacked time and again and the defence of the team was tested, however, they stood firm and held the line.’
      • ‘The team will depend on several aging players to improve a defense that slipped last season.’
      • ‘Part of the dismal run is the team's porous defence which has conceded an incredible 52 goals in 29 matches.’
      • ‘The very sight of a player running through the defence holding the stick in one hand and guiding the ball throughout as if it was glued to the stick is something to behold.’
      • ‘Classic threatened but could not break down a stubborn Leopards defence denying the home team a sniff at goal.’
      • ‘It wins with a dominating defense and flawless special teams, timing and chutzpah.’
      • ‘He always blames the defence when the team is not doing well.’
      • ‘The ball went to Bell who weaved his way through the defence to give his team a converted try.’
      • ‘All of a sudden you are attacking with four and it may leave you exposed in midfield and that may be why we are putting more pressure on the defence.’
      • ‘The player is capable of mesmerizing any team's defence on his good day.’

Phrases

  • defence in depth

    • The arrangement of defensive lines or fortifications so that they can defend each other.

      • ‘In the 1720s, the strategic military forces were concentrated around Moscow, able to deploy to any theater, while a series of fortified lines were constructed along the outer perimeters to provide a defense in depth.’
      • ‘As the Stalin Line had been largely dismantled, there was no defence in depth.’
      • ‘An increased power of strikes delivered by the troops on the offensive forced the armies to switch from archipelago defense to total integrated defense in depth that balanced the sides’ fighting possibilities to a certain extent.’
      • ‘It has been claimed that fortified defence lines, supported by defence in depth, were an outmoded concept in the face of a warfare of movement.’
      • ‘The land allowed for defense in depth and could also serve as a bargaining tool for peace treaties when the fighting stopped.’
      • ‘He must then establish a defence in depth housed on an engagement area that will not be visible in daylight until 30 minutes after the expected enemy attack.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, an attempt by the military command to organize multi-layered defense in depth, patterned after the Soviet model built on the Kursk Bulge in 1943, proved ineffectual.’
      • ‘This option strengthens the nation's maritime shield by revitalizing the full range of capabilities that provide ‘maritime defense in depth.’’
      • ‘It would provide defense in depth, with light screening forces located in a forward area and most forces concentrated close to key potential targets.’
      • ‘The Germans were using new tactics of defence in depth developed in the west, and the Russian offensive ground to a halt with appalling casualties.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French defens, from late Latin defensum (neuter), defensa (feminine), past participles of defendere defend.

Pronunciation:

defence

/dɪˈfɛns/