Definition of defensively in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /dəˈfensivlē/


1In a manner intended to defend or protect: both countries say they acted defensively when they sent troops in
More example sentences
  • Negative encounters with black bears usually are the result of bears reacting defensively rather than aggressively.
  • The file stated that he "did not appear to act defensively immediately prior to being shot".
  • Surprised people tend to react emotionally and attacked people tend to react defensively, and you must fight down both urges.
1.1In a way that relates to the defending of a goal against the opposition in sports: the team is struggling defensively a complete player both offensively and defensively
More example sentences
  • If you play defensively for too long, you won't be able to block attacks, which keeps the action fast paced.
  • Indeed, the Warriors had more lapses defensively and were frustrated offensively, as they have been throughout 2004.
  • I find it an honour to be able to be coached defensively from one of the best defenders to play the women's game.
2In a way intended to challenge or avoid criticism: he reacted defensively to attacks from fellow critics CEOs have responded defensively to the onslaught on their profession
More example sentences
  • Paloma answered defensively, "You opened my mail without my permission!".
  • Swallowing defensively, Mark said, " Don't look at me!".
  • She gave Asha a disapproving look; her daughter laughed nervously and backed away, hands raised defensively.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·fen·sive·ly

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.