Definition of defendant in English:



  • An individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law:

    ‘the defendant tried to claim that it was self-defence’
    Compare with plaintiff
    • ‘The case had taken a long time to get to court as the defendant had pleaded not guilty.’
    • ‘Each case will turn on its own facts but in my view the claimants are more likely to succeed than the defendants.’
    • ‘The claimant and all three defendants were represented at the hearing of the application.’
    • ‘It is odd that you can get an acquittal, without the defendant even having to appear in court.’
    • ‘The defendants had approached and accused the police of kicking the girl, he said.’
    • ‘If the conduct of the defendants is not an issue in a defamation trial, what on earth is?’
    • ‘The Trial Chamber found that in the case at issue the defendants were guilty of persecution.’
    • ‘Both the claimants and the defendants are in business for the purpose of making a profit.’
    • ‘What was done was in direct response to a hazardous situation created by the defendants.’
    • ‘She instructed the defendants to draw up on her behalf a new will and two deeds of gift accordingly.’
    • ‘The plaintiffs alleged trespass and the defendants claimed that they had a profit of grazing.’
    • ‘The case was adjourned so that all three defendants could appear in court together.’
    • ‘The terms of the order were not explained to the defendant by the magistrates in open court.’
    • ‘All claimants claim that there was a conspiracy by the defendants to injure them by unlawful means.’
    • ‘The criminal law ought not to be less favourable to a defendant than the civil law.’
    • ‘The prosecution say that the defendant was a man who could be violent in a calm and calculated way.’
    • ‘In fact the tenant was not treated less favourably than a defendant in the High Court.’
    • ‘Three defendants were each found liable to the plaintiff in a personal injuries case.’
    • ‘The court was told the defendant was stopped by police because he was not wearing a seat belt.’
    • ‘The reality of the matter is that the object of these proceedings is to make the other defendants liable.’
    accused, prisoner at the bar
    appellant, litigant, respondent
    suspect, suspected person
    View synonyms