- 1Used or intended to defend or protect: defensive barriersMore example sentences
- This group unites to form a defensive force to protect the city from a new band of villains.
- The mammals swam in tight circles to create a defensive barrier as the great white lurked under the surface.
- At the Tuileries, meanwhile, courtiers were going about armed and preparing defensive positions.
- 1.1(In sport) relating to or intended as defence: a defensive player a poor defensive recordMore example sentences
- He is the first player ever to be voted top rookie and defensive player of the year in the same season.
- Benitez can also boast having one of the country's best defensive records having conceded just six times.
- Liverpool have the eighth best goalscoring record and the seventh best defensive record.
- 2Very anxious to challenge or avoid criticism: he was very defensive about that side of his lifeMore example sentences
- Many patients say they felt discouraged from complaining in the face of a defensive approach to criticism.
- Both sides tend to adopt inflexible, judgmental and defensive attitudes toward one another.
- Perhaps we should cut out the defensive attitudes and actually read what was posted?
on the defensive
- Expecting or resisting criticism or attack: British forces were on the defensiveMore example sentences
- They held up his reform programme and kept him on the defensive by mounting attacks on his closest associates.
- Stay on the defensive, dodge constantly, and look for the other guy to make mistakes.
- The Germans mostly remained on the defensive in the west in 1915, while chasing the Russians out of Poland.
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- Her younger sister replied quickly and somewhat defensively, Grace noted.
- I asked, perhaps a little bit too defensively which, of course, gave me right away.
- Con quickly held his pistols by the barrels and brought them up defensively.
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- Nonetheless, like a pebble in a pond, he sets off ripples of confusion, defensiveness and jealousy in the camp.
- If activists gain successes, it's perhaps less because of their firepower or organisation than because of the defensiveness of the groups that they take on.
- While the victory in Harare stemmed the tide, it could not halt the team's characteristic and understandable retreat into sullen defensiveness.
late Middle English: from Old French défensif, -ive, from medieval Latin defensivus, from Latin defens- 'warded off', from the verb defendere (see defend).