Definition of fend in English:



  • 1[no object] Look after and provide for oneself, without any help from others.

    ‘she left her 14-year-old daughter to fend for herself’
    • ‘There are many opportunities available for those who are willing to work hard and fend for themselves.’
    • ‘However, they still chirp for their mother to feed them, until they gain enough independence and fend for themselves.’
    • ‘His mother had to struggle hard to fend for herself and her son.’
    • ‘In the wild, if a female with a young one gets killed, other females may take care of the young one till it is old enough to fend for itself.’
    • ‘If you're old enough to date him, then you're old enough to fend for yourself.’
    • ‘However, they are all talented enough to fend for themselves.’
    • ‘Stroke victims are worried about what will happen to them if they are turfed out of the specialist ward to fend for themselves.’
    • ‘Instead, she fends for herself, which is harder than she thought, and during the process, she writes a poem in her new journal.’
    • ‘I know how to fight and fend for myself, I'm not some little kid.’
    • ‘All my chum wants is simple life insurance to cover him and his wife until he retires at age 65, or until his daughter is old enough to fend for herself financially.’
    take care of oneself, look after oneself, provide for oneself, shift for oneself, manage by oneself, get by alone, get by without help, cope alone, cope unaided, stand on one's own two feet, hold one's own, make it on one's own
    paddle one's own canoe
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  • 2[with object] Defend oneself from a blow, attack, or attacker.

    ‘Meredith tried frantically to fend him off’
    figurative ‘he fended off the awkward questions’
    • ‘There were three of them round me but I managed to fend them off.’
    • ‘He attempted to attack Rhys, but she fended him off.’
    • ‘We fended them off but they started smashing bottles as they left.’
    • ‘The officer was forced to fend the dog off by striking out with his foot.’
    • ‘I raised myself up on my right arm and fended the bike off.’
    • ‘HIV batters the body's defences until diseases which the immune system normally fends off become major threats.’
    • ‘She was grappling with them and trying to fend them off.’
    • ‘We don't need the Mayor's protection to fend off a solitary journalist asking a simple question.’
    • ‘Officers had to fend them off so Jackson could get away.’
    • ‘Jamie went in for the win, but Ward fended him off quite well.’
    ward off, head off, stave off, hold off, keep off, repel, repulse, resist, forestall, pre-empt, fight off, defend oneself against, guard against, discourage, prevent, stop, put a stop to, block, intercept, halt, arrest, check, curb, hold back, baulk, foil, thwart, keep at bay, keep at arm's length
    parry, turn aside, divert, deflect, avert
    skirt round, dodge, duck, escape, evade
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Middle English (in the sense ‘defend’): shortening of defend. Compare with fence and fencible.