Definition of defence in English:

defence

Line breaks: de|fence
Pronunciation: /dɪˈfɛns
 
/
(US defense)

noun

1 [mass noun] The action of defending from or resisting attack: methods of defence against this kind of attack she came to the defence of the eccentric professor he spoke in defence of a disciplined approach
More example sentences
  • We will match their determination with our own; we will be as resolute as they are fanatical; as strong in defence of good as they are hell-bent on doing evil.
  • Were they standing firm in defence of our traditional country sports?
  • My article was rather a statement not just in my own defence, but in defence of the whole tradition of the kind of fiction that I belong to.
Synonyms
protection, shielding, safeguarding, guarding; security, fortification, cover, shelter, screen, resistance, deterrentvindication, justification, support, advocacy, approval, endorsement, promotion; apology, apologia, explanation, explication, excuse, extenuation, exoneration, palliation
1.1 [count noun] An instance of defending a title or seat in a contest or election: his first title defence against Jones
More example sentences
  • He hints that his place in the pantheon is not yet secure, though Saturday's contest will extend to eight his record of world title defences.
  • Fast forward to the present day and it turns out that the current European Championships are staging a whole host of title defences.
  • And, of course, Mike and Kitty are the proud possessors of Jim's Lonsdale Belt won for those successful defences on his British title.
1.2Military measures or resources for protecting a country: the minister of defence [as modifier]: defence policy
More example sentences
  • The gap is a function of demographics, strategy, defense spending, and military policy.
  • Those who formulate defense policy and military strategy must learn to see beyond the immediate and the obvious.
  • Differences in population growth create fundamental trends that influence military strategy and defence policy.
Synonyms
armaments, weapons, weaponry, arms, military resources/measures; the military, the army, the navy, the air force; deterrence
1.3A means of protecting something from attack: wire netting is the best defence against rabbits
More example sentences
  • The main defence against them is protective clothing - gas masks and special suits made of rubber or treated synthetic cloth.
  • Everyone at the barrier, considered by Bogside people to be their main line of defence, was either dead or wounded.
  • His study identified a variety of ways that a bank employee could defeat the main line of defence in the central security system guarding PIN numbers.
1.4 (defences) Fortifications or barriers against attack: coastal defences
More example sentences
  • The Romans also developed tunnelling for military purposes, either by breaking through behind enemy defences or by undermining fortifications to cause their collapse.
  • In the first six months of 1944 Rommel strongly reinforced the defences and placed obstacles on all large beaches.
  • Outside the main defences lay large outworks such as the Terra Nova and Fort William.
Synonyms
barricade, fortification, bulwark, buttress, fortress, fastness, keep, rampart, outpost, bastion
2The case presented by or on behalf of the party accused of a crime or being sued in a civil lawsuit: the farmer’s defence was that he intended only to wound the thief
More example sentences
  • It is clear law that in any context in which consent of the injured party is a defence to what would otherwise be a crime or a civil wrong, the consent must be real.
  • One of these standards is that an accused person must be given full opportunity to present his defence.
  • In its defence the Third Party has admitted liability by the defendant but denies any obligation for contribution or indemnity.
Synonyms
2.1 (the defence) [treated as singular or plural] The counsel for the defendant in a lawsuit: the defence requested more time to prepare their case
More example sentences
  • The magistrates agreed to the defence counsel's application for the defendants' costs to be taxed and paid out of central funds.
  • Later on the same day, the required documentation was sent by the plaintiff's solicitor to defence counsel.
  • The judge also left provocation to the jury, though the defence did not request this.
3(In sport) the action or role of defending one’s goal or wicket against the opposition: Wolves were pressed back into defence
More example sentences
  • Their defense played a huge role in helping them reach the playoffs for the third time in Edwards' four seasons.
  • The Colombia goalkeeper marshalled a defence that conceded 21 goals in 34 league games.
  • Good goal keeping and a solid defence prevented Oakworth getting an equaliser.
3.1 (the defence) The players in a team who defend the goal: despite heavy pressure the defence was coping well Ford returns to United’s defence [count noun]: dribbling through defences
More example sentences
  • Stam played, and against a modest team United's defence conceded two goals.
  • The very sight of a player running through the defence holding the stick in one hand and guiding the ball throughout as if it was glued to the stick is something to behold.
  • Part of the dismal run is the team's porous defence which has conceded an incredible 52 goals in 29 matches.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French defens, from late Latin defensum (neuter), defensa (feminine), past participles of defendere 'defend'.

Phrases

defence in depth

The arrangement of defensive lines or fortifications so that they can defend each other.
More example sentences
  • It has been claimed that fortified defence lines, supported by defence in depth, were an outmoded concept in the face of a warfare of movement.
  • In the 1720s, the strategic military forces were concentrated around Moscow, able to deploy to any theater, while a series of fortified lines were constructed along the outer perimeters to provide a defense in depth.
  • As the Stalin Line had been largely dismantled, there was no defence in depth.

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