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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun defense:


Comparison of usage frequency between the noun defense and its most common antonym:


Defense is sometimes a misspelling of defence.

The word defense is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

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Definition of the noun defense

What does defense mean as a name of something?

noun - plural:

  • defense: defenses
  • Defense: -

  1. (military) military action or resources protecting a country against potential enemies
  2. protection from harm
    • example: sanitation is the best defense against disease
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • synonym of defense: defence
    • more generic word: protection = the activity of protecting someone or something
  3. (sports) the team that is trying to prevent the other team from scoring
  4. the justification for some act or belief
    • example: he offered a persuasive defense of the theory
    • lexical domain: Communicative Processes - nouns denoting communicative processes and contents
    • synonyms of defense: defence / vindication
    • more generic word: justification = a statement in explanation of some action or belief
    • more specific words:
      • apologia / apology = a formal written defense of something you believe in strongly
      • alibi = a defense by an accused person purporting to show that he or she could not have committed the crime in question
      • self-justification / exculpation / excuse / alibi = a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.
  5. (psychiatry) an unconscious process that tries to reduce the anxiety associated with instinctive desires
    • domain: psychiatry / psychological medicine / psychopathology
    • lexical domain: Natural Processes - nouns denoting natural processes
    • synonyms of defense: defence / defence mechanism / defence reaction / defense mechanism / defense reaction
    • more generic terms: process / unconscious process = a mental process that you are not directly aware of; psychoanalytic process = a process that is assumed to occur in psychoanalytic theory
    • more specific terms:
      • compensation = a defense mechanism that conceals your undesirable shortcomings by exaggerating desirable behaviors
      • conversion = a defense mechanism represses emotional conflicts which are then converted into physical symptoms that have no organic basis
      • denial = a defense mechanism that denies painful thoughts
      • displacement = a defense mechanism that transfers affect or reaction from the original object to some more acceptable one
      • idealisation / idealization = a defense mechanism that splits something you are ambivalent about into two representations--one good and one bad
      • intellectualisation / intellectualization = a defense mechanism that uses reasoning to block out emotional stress and conflict
      • isolation = a defense mechanism in which memory of an unacceptable act or impulse is separated from the emotion originally associated with it
      • projection = a defense mechanism by which your own traits and emotions are attributed to someone else
      • rationalisation / rationalization = a defense mechanism by which your true motivation is concealed by explaining your actions and feelings in a way that is not threatening
      • reaction formation = a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously develops attitudes and behavior that are the opposite of unacceptable repressed desires and impulses and serve to conceal them
      • regression = a defense mechanism in which you flee from reality by assuming a more infantile state
      • repression = the classical defense mechanism that protects you from impulses or ideas that would cause anxiety by preventing them from becoming conscious
  6. the federal department responsible for safeguarding national security of the United States; created in 1947
  7. the defendant and his legal advisors collectively
  8. the speech act of answering an attack on your assertions
    • example: in defense he said the other man started it
    • lexical domain: Communicative Processes - nouns denoting communicative processes and contents
    • synonyms of defense: defence / refutation
    • more generic word: answer = the speech act of replying to a question
    • more specific words:
      • confutation = the speech act of refuting conclusively
      • rebuttal = the speech act of refuting by offering a contrary contention or argument
  9. an organization of defenders that provides resistance against attack
  10. a structure used to defend against attack
  11. a defendant's answer or plea denying the truth of the charges against him
    • example: he gave evidence for the defense
    • domain: jurisprudence / law
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • synonyms of defense: defence / demurrer / denial
    • antonym of defense: prosecution
    • more generic terms: due process / due process of law = the administration of justice according to established rules and principles
    • more specific word: entrapment = a defense that claims the defendant would not have broken the law if not tricked into doing it by law enforcement officials
    • part of: trial = the determination of a person's innocence or guilt by due process of law
  12. the act of defending someone or something against attack or injury
    • examples: a good boxer needs a good defense | defense against hurricanes is an urgent problem
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • synonym of defense: defence
    • more generic word: protection = the activity of protecting someone or something

Alternative definition of the noun defense


  1. The action of defending or protecting from attack, danger, or injury.
  2. Anything employed to oppose attack(s).
  3. [context: team sports] A strategy and tactics employed to prevent the other team from scoring; contrasted with offense.
  4. [context: team sports] The portion of a team dedicated to preventing the other team from scoring; contrasted with offense.
  5. An argument in support or justification of something.
  6. Government policy or structure related to the military.

Specialised definition of the noun defense

Glossary of sports

in sports, the method or manoeuvres that prevent the other team from scoring (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

the sports team members who have responsibility for defence (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

in combat and team sports, a defensive way of fighting in order to prevent an effect of the opponent's attacks (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

in ball games, the entire line of defending players (defensive players) of a team. If their actions are successful, the team is said to have a stable or good defense. (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

Glossary of sports / American football

the team that does not have possession of the ball at the start of a play (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Glossary of sports / basketball

the act of preventing the offense from scoring

the team without the ball


Defense is a fictional character from the film Alice's Misadventures in Wonderland.


"Defense" a.k.a. "Defense!" is a composition.


"Defense" is a memoir written by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 1986.


  1. Defense a.k.a. Defenseman: Defence in ice hockey is a player position whose primary responsibility is to prevent the opposing team from scoring. They are often referred to as defencemen, D, D-men or blueliners. They were once called cover-point.
  2. Defense: In many team sports, defence or defense is the action of preventing an opponent from scoring. The term may also refer to the tactics involved in defense, or a sub-team whose primary responsibility is defense. Similarly, a defense player or defender is a player who is generally charged with preventing the other team's forwards from being able to bear down directly on their own team's goalkeeper. Such intention exist in association football, ice hockey, water polo and many other sports.
  3. Defense: In policy debate, defense refers to argument which has no implication other than mitigating an argument made by the opposing team.
  4. Defense is a 2012 Telly Award winning ad, created by República LLC for Miami Dolphins.
    • also known as Miami Dolphins Defense Spot
    • award: - Telly Award for Local TV & Local Cable Commercial - Sports/Sporting Goods/Games, received by República, LLC

Phrases with Defense

Phrases starting with the word Defense:

  1. defense team
  2. defense force
  3. defense lawyer
  4. defense policy
  5. defense system
  6. defense lawyers
  7. defense program
  8. defense attorney
  9. defense reaction

Phrases ending with the word Defense:

  1. bw defense
  2. In Defense
  3. air defense
  4. self-defense
  5. Zone defense
  6. civil defense
  7. hasty defense
  8. Space Defense
  9. line of defense
  10. Special Defense
  11. chemical defense

View more phrases with the word Defense in thesaurus!

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Defense

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewAre Your Habits Killing You? (2007)

A Complete Personal Handbook of Safety Suggestions to Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life: Because the Best Defense Is a Good Offensive Plan! by Kimberly Cheryl

A Complete Personal Handbook of Safety Suggestions to Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life: Because the Best Defense Is a Good Offensive Plan! Kimberly Cheryl. 10. Tips. for. Online. Dating. Safety. Start Slowly. Watch out for someone who ...

Google previewThe Adequacy of Government Research Programs in Non-military Defense (1958)

A Report by National Research Council (U.S.). Advisory Committee on Civil Defense

We believe that the most important effect of the lack of a strong federal policy for non-military defense is that it...

Google previewThe Northwestern Reporter (1916)

Appellant's third defense is that the records “of the county of Cass established such settlement with said county treasurer, and the fact that all the county's moneys were on hand, and such records are conclusive upon the said county and the ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (2003)

Family, Law and Politics by Suad Joseph, Afsāna Naǧmābādī

Overview Definition The cultural defense is a legal strategy used sometimes in criminal cases in United States courts to...

Google previewThe Atlantic Reporter (1913)

The third defense is a long and prolix statement In narrative form, setting...

Google previewEstimative products on Vietnam, 1948-1975

DRV leaders would probably consider that the introduction of Chinese and Soviet -supplied air defense means might have a deterrent effect on US intentions, and might provide some military offset to GVN measures against the North; we doubt ...

Google previewMedical-Surgical Nursing (2015)

Patient-Centered Collaborative Care by Donna D. Ignatavicius, M. Linda Workman

The first defense is the moat surrounding the castle walls. Although the moat seldom kills invaders directly, it at least slows them down and sometimes repels them.

Google previewChallenges for the 1990s for Arms Control and International Security (1989)

by Committee on International Security and Arms Control, Office of International Affairs, Policy and Global Affairs, National Academy of Sciences

Antichemical defense is an essential adjunct to the Chemical Weapons Convention. First, it reduces incentives for...

Google previewReason and Worldviews (2008)

Warfield, Kuyper, Van Til and Plantinga on the Clarity of General Revelation and Function of Apologetics by Owen Anderson

Such a defense is the goal of apologetics.

Google previewThe Blank Slate (2003)

The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

Defense is an iffy matter even with technologies such as castle walls, the Maginot Line, or antiballistic missile defenses, and it is even iffier without them. The only...

As Yogi Berra advised, “The best defense is a good offense and vice versa.

Google previewDepartment of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (2011)

As Amended Through April 2010 by Barry Leonard

chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear passive defense — Passive measures taken to minimize or negate the vulnerability to, and effects of, chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attacks. This mission area focuses on ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of United States National Security (2005)

by Richard J. Samuels

Congress passed the Defense Authorization Act in 1997. The Act mandates that each new administration ...

Google previewThe Arms Control, Disarmament, and Military Security Dictionary (2007)

by Jeffrey M. Elliot, Robert Reginald

Army strategy for NATO defense, one of the so-called deep strike initiatives. AirLand Battle (and its futuristic successor, Air Land Battle 2000) "involves conducting simultaneous deep attacks ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of the U.S. Government and the Environment (2011)

History, Policy, and Politics by Matthew J. Lindstrom

Timothy O'Brien See also Natural Resources Defense Council References Environmental Defense Fund, Gottlieb, Robert. Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement. Washington DC: ...

Google previewFreud's World: An Encyclopedia of His Life and Times (2012)

An Encyclopedia of His Life and Times by Luis A. Cordón

Defense. Mechanisms. In its challenging task of mediating conflict between the id , the superego, and re- ality, the ego will inevitably fail with some frequency, resulting in anxiety. Freud classified anxiety into three categories·reality anxiety, ...

Google previewThe Dictionary of SDI (1988)

by Harry Waldman

It, or its more technical-sounding alter ego — the strategic defense initiative (SDI) — appears almost daily in news reports: "Iceland Summit Dissolves over SDI"; " Thatcher Supports U.S. Space Initiative"; "American Scientists Oppose Research ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of the Social and Cultural Foundations of Education (2008)

by Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr.

The National Defense Education Act of 1958 (NDEA) is federal legislation that was passed primarily to stimulate the advancement of education in the sciences, mathematics, and modern foreign languages during the Cold War era.

Google previewThe Dictionary of Military Terms (2015)

by U.S. Department of Defense

Defense. 1. THE MECHANICS OF DIALOGUE: TAGS, TALKING VERBS, AND PUNCTUATION DIALOGUE TAGS AND WHEN TO USE THEM Dialogue tags are for clarity, obviously—we need to know who is speaking—but when only two ...

Google previewHistorical Dictionary of U.S. Diplomacy during the Cold War (2014)

by Martin Folly

triggering Soviet defense protocols, which could then be observed. Together with the ...

Google previewDictionary of Health Information Technology and Security (2007)

DEFENSE. DEPARTMENT. Advanced Technology Innovation Center Executive- Level Briefing and Demonstration Facility, Technology Assessment and Technology Insertion, Computer Training Facility, Joint Medical Testing Center— The ...

Google previewMerriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law (1996)

by Merriam-Webster, Inc

(defendant took stand and ~ed intoxication defense — National Law Journal) 2a:to prevail over b ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Defense

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Photos about Defense

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View more pictures about Air Defense.

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Motor and generator room door inside Paul D Bunker Battery casemate 2 at Fort MacArthur San Pedro California. WWII U.S.A. coastal defense installation near Los Angeles overlooking Pacific OceanSmall photo of Defense, Military tank, detail of tracks or wheels of the off-road armored vehicleSmall photo of Hand grab defense; mid section of martial artistsSmall photo of Grande arch La Defense, ParisSmall photo of San Pedro, California USA - October 5, 2017: View from Paul D Bunker Battery casemate 1 at Fort MacArthur near Los Angeles. A WWII coastal defense where a 16-inch naval gun faced the Pacific Ocean.Small photo of La Defense Financial District Paris France at sunset in autumn. Traffic on Champs-Elysees with green trees aside. Modern vs. Old architectureSmall photo of 14th century defense Castle Pieskowa Skala , near Krakow, Poland. Located in Ojcowski National Park, is one of the best-known examples of a defensive Polish Renaissance architecture More...

Video language resources about Defense

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View more videos about In Defense, Self Defense, Zone defense, Space Defense, Defense lawyer, Special Defense, Chemical defense, Defense Attorney, National Defense, Chewbacca defense, Defense Mechanism, Nuremberg Defense, Man-to-man defense, Affirmative defense, Defense in Abatement, Defense Language Institute, and Strategic Defense Initiative.

See also the pronunciation examples of Defense!

Sign language

Riyadh Civil Defense Learns Sign Language

Quotes about Defense

My mental approach is totally different. My coach predicated everything on defense. He always talked about defense, defense, defense. I took it to heart that if you play defense, you can take the heart from an offensive player. (Eric Williams)
more quotes about defense...

Scrabble value of D2E1F4E1N1S1E1

The value of this 7-letter word is 11 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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