• (RP) IPA: /dɪˈfɛns/
  • (America) IPA: /dɪˈfɛns/
  • (sports) (America, often) IPA: /ˈdiːˌfɛns/

defence (British spelling)

  1. The action of defending, of protecting from attack, danger or injury.
    • circa 1598 William Shakespeare, Henry V (play), Act II, Scene 4,
      In cases of defence ’tis best to weigh
      The enemy more mighty than he seems:
  2. Something used to oppose attacks.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Sonnets 12,
      And nothing ’gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
      Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
  3. An argument in support or justification of something.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Sonnets 89,
      Speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt,
      Against thy reasons making no defence.
  4. (team sports) A strategy and tactics employed to prevent the other team from scoring; contrasted with offence.
  5. (team sports) The portion of a team dedicated to preventing the other team from scoring; contrasted with offence.
  6. Government policy or (infra)structure related to the military.
    Department of Defence
  7. (obsolete) Prohibition; a prohibitory ordinance.
    • 1673, Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet, “An Essay upon the Advancement of Trade in Ireland” in Miscellanea, London: Edw[ard] Gellibrand, 1680, p. 116,
      […] severe defences may be made against weaving any Linnen under a certain breadth, such as may be of better use to the poorest People […]
Synonyms Antonyms Verb

defence (defences, present participle defencing; past and past participle defenced)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To furnish with defences; to fortify.
    • Better manned and more strongly defenced.

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