Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin defensa vengeance, from Latin, feminine of defensus, past participle of defendere
Date: 14th century
a. the act or action of defending <the defense of our country> <speak out in defense of justice> b. a defendant's denial, answer, or plea 2. a. capability of resisting attack b. defensive play or ability <a player known for good defense> 3. a. means or method of defending or protecting oneself, one's team, or another; also a defensive structure b. an argument in support or justification c. the collected facts and method adopted by a defendant to protect and defend against a plaintiff's action d. a sequence of moves available in chess to the second player in the opening 4. a. a defending party or group (as in a court of law) <the defense rests> b. a defensive team 5. the military and industrial aggregate that authorizes and supervises arms production <appropriations for defense> <defense contract> • defenseless adjective • defenselessly adverb • defenselessness noun II. transitive verb (defensed; defensing) Date: 1950 to take specific defensive action against (an opposing team or player or an offensive play)
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.