Definition of defendant in English:

defendant

noun

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

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

Origin

Middle English (as an adjective in the sense defending): from Old French, warding off present participle of defendre (see defend).

Pronunciation:

defendant

/dəˈfendənt/