Definition of defense mechanism in US English:

defense mechanism


  • 1An automatic reaction of the body against disease-causing organisms.

    • ‘Lupus is a condition whereby the body's defense mechanism goes into overdrive and starts to attack itself.’
    • ‘Dissociative disorder is considered an emergency defence mechanism that shields against overwhelming anxiety.’
    • ‘Tcells belong to the cellular arm of the immune system's two-pronged defense mechanism against foreign invaders - the other arm features blood-borne antibodies.’
    • ‘He truly has great faith in the defence mechanism of the human body - a faith that is both irrational and absurd.’
    • ‘Acute diarrhea is an important defense mechanism that enables your body to expel foreign bacteria and parasites quickly.’
    • ‘Iron deficiency may be an important defence mechanism, and the term ‘nutritional immunity’ was coined to highlight the importance of hypoferraemia in preventing bacterial growth.’
    • ‘The large white blood cells known as macrophages are the body's defence mechanism against invading pathogens.’
    • ‘The cough is a vital defense mechanism in the protection of airways from unwanted materials.’
    • ‘The neurological basis for the response to tickling probably evolved from a reflex defense mechanism that protected our body's surface from external, moving stimuli - most often, predators or parasites.’
    • ‘Asthma, Buteyko asserts, is a bodily defence mechanism, aimed not so much at blocking the entry of oxygen as the loss of CO2.’
    • ‘It is equivocal whether or not fever can be universally regarded as a body defence mechanism, particularly as its usefulness or otherwise where there is no infection is obscure.’
    • ‘The symptoms of disease that we see are very often secondary to our defense mechanism, but are exploited on behalf of the bug's capacity to disseminate.’
    • ‘They all play major parts in the body's defence mechanism against viral and bacterial infection.’
    • ‘Fibrosis represents the last-ditch defense mechanism of the host, where it occurs surrounding a central area of necrosis to wall off the infection when all other mechanisms failed.’
    • ‘By the way, the human body does not have a natural defence mechanism against Dengue and no vaccine exists for the disease, you are told.’
    • ‘The mucociliary apparatus, normally an important defense mechanism used to clear potential pathogens, can be severely damaged by smoking.’
    • ‘It was solely the body's immune defence mechanism that did the job.’
    • ‘It is thought to be the body's natural defence mechanism - the body tries to reach a temperature that the virus or bacteria cannot survive in.’
    • ‘This seemingly harmless process - the reason an annoying mosquito bite itches so much or why a sore throat aches - is a necessary defense mechanism that can also turn into a deadly, often fatal cascade of events.’
    • ‘A collaboration between The Burnham Institute and Japan's Shinsu University has discovered the defense mechanism that protects the stomach against H. pylori infection.’
    1. 1.1 A mental process (e.g., repression or projection) initiated, typically unconsciously, to avoid conscious conflict or anxiety.
      • ‘Another common complication in hostage situations is a human defense mechanism called the Stockholm syndrome, in which hostages come to empathize with the captors and their cause.’
      • ‘Among those processes is a defense mechanism, or series or species of mechanisms, that keep you ‘sane’.’
      • ‘Projection, a psychological defense mechanism, consists of attributing to others those attitudes and motives that we ourselves harbor.’
      • ‘As humans we tend not to welcome change, perhaps it is a psychological defense mechanism, I am not sure.’
      • ‘So when we look at the word ‘denial’ in medical terms we're talking about an ego defence mechanism, that's unconscious and impervious to reason.’
      • ‘‘The illusion of healthfulness is in fact a positive defense mechanism,’ says Ross.’
      • ‘Many psychologists believe that unconscious repression of traumatic experiences such as sexual abuse or rape is a defense mechanism which backfires.’
      • ‘In his practice, he says he has seen women who, as a defense mechanism, say they aren't distressed about their sexual problems.’
      • ‘It can be difficult to put some of these strategies into play because when we are upset or feeling vulnerable we sometimes protect ourselves with the same defense mechanism over and over again until it just becomes habit.’
      • ‘Since resentment is likely to result in guilt, the psychological defense mechanism now justifies the resentment by projecting it onto something else - the house.’
      • ‘Another defence mechanism, compartmentalization, is the ability to raise cognitive and emotional barriers that wall off one domain of thought and activity from another.’
      • ‘Sleepiness can be a psychological defense mechanism, a way of shutting out the world.’
      • ‘A person who during childhood has learnt to reject parts of him/herself is likely to use the psychological defence mechanism of projection in adulthood.’
      • ‘The traumatised patient uses denial as an ego defence mechanism that operates unconsciously to resolve emotional conflict, and to allay anxiety by refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality.’
      • ‘Children may also show hostility to the stepparent as a defense mechanism against feelings of hurt and betrayal.’
      • ‘They have recourse to narcissism as a psychical defense mechanism.’
      • ‘It was a defence mechanism her subconscious had created in order to help her cope with the pain.’
      • ‘In Freud's theories, repression was the fundamental defense mechanism, a way of keeping disturbing and anxiety-generating thoughts and memories out of consciousness.’
      • ‘But to emphasize such an idea encourages the escapism that is a natural defense mechanism when we are physically assaulted.’
      • ‘Ziv has suggested that self-mocking humor is most accurately conceptualized as a defense mechanism.’


defense mechanism

/ˈdēˌfens ˈmekəˌnizəm/