This word does NOT mean taking down a fence; it is the British spelling of “defense” — a word that means the act of protecting or defending. Wearing garlic around your neck might be your defence against vampires.

Defence can be verbal as well as physical. If you’re in court charged with a crime, you (and your lawyer, if you have one) are called “the defence.” If your only defence is that you were sleepwalking when you robbed a gas station, you might be going away for awhile. If you play defence in a team sport, your main job is to keep the other team from scoring (so stay wide awake).

Definitions of defence
  1. noun

    the act of defending someone or something against attack or injury

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    type of:


    the activity of protecting someone or something

  2. noun

    a structure used to defend against attack

    defense, defensive structure
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    a fortified Moorish palace built near Granada by Muslim kings in the Middle Ages

    a fortress built in Paris in the 14th century and used as a prison in the 17th and 18th centuries; it was destroyed July 14, 1789 at the start of the French Revolution
    Black Hole of Calcutta

    a dungeon (20 feet square) in a fort in Calcutta where as many as 146 English prisoners were held overnight by Siraj-ud-daula; the next morning only 23 were still alive

    citadel of Moscow, housing the offices of the Russian government
    Maginot Line

    a fortification built before World War II to protect France’s eastern border; initially considered to be impregnable, it was easily overrun by the German army in 1940
    Siegfried line

    German fortifications facing the Maginot Line
    Tower of London

    a fortress in London on the Thames; used as a palace and a state prison and now as a museum containing the crown jewels
    Balmoral Castle

    a castle in northeastern Scotland that is a private residence of the British sovereign
    Machu Picchu

    Inca fortress city in the Andes in Peru discovered in 1911; it may have been built in the 15th century

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    cheval-de-frise, chevaux-de-frise

    defensive structure consisting of a movable obstacle composed of barbed wire or spikes attached to a wooden frame; used to obstruct cavalry
    fortification, munition

    defensive structure consisting of walls or mounds built around a stronghold to strengthen it
    fort, fortress

    a fortified defensive structure
    line of defence, line of defense

    defensive structure consisting of a barrier that can be employed for defense against attack

    subsidiary defensive structure lying outside the main fortified area
    fastness, stronghold

    a strongly fortified defensive structure
    abatis, abattis

    a line of defense consisting of a barrier of felled or live trees with branches (sharpened or with barbed wire entwined) pointed toward the enemy

    any of various Spanish fortresses or palaces built by the Moors

    projecting part of a rampart or other fortification
    bastion, citadel

    a stronghold into which people could go for shelter during a battle

    a stronghold that is reinforced for protection from enemy fire; with apertures for defensive fire
    bunker, dugout

    a fortification of earth; mostly or entirely below ground

    a large building formerly occupied by a ruler and fortified against attack

    the arrangement of defensive fortifications to protect against enemy fire
    entrenchment, intrenchment

    an entrenched fortification; a position protected by trenches
    escarp, escarpment, protective embankment, scarp

    a steep artificial slope in front of a fortification

    a temporary fortification built by troops in the field

    a stronghold
    donjon, dungeon, keep

    the main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or fortress

    temporary fortification like a detached bastion
    martello tower

    a circular masonry fort for coastal defence

    fortification consisting of a strong fence made of stakes driven into the ground
    breastwork, parapet

    fortification consisting of a low wall

    a fortress established in the southwestern United States by the Spanish in order to protect their missions and other holdings

    an entrenched stronghold or refuge

    (military) a temporary or supplementary fortification; typically square or polygonal without flanking defenses

    a small fort or earthwork defending a ford, pass, or castle gate

    fortification consisting of a fence made of a line of stout posts set firmly for defense
    type of:

    construction, structure

    a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts

  3. noun

    (military) military action or resources protecting a country against potential enemies

    defense, defensive measure
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    a formation of military planes maintained over ground operations or targets
    air defense

    defensive measures designed to destroy attacking enemy aircraft or missiles or to nullify their effectiveness

    a defensive effort
    hasty defence, hasty defense

    a defense organized while in contact with the enemy or when time is limited
    deliberate defence, deliberate defense

    a defense organized before contact is made with the enemy and while time for organization is available; usually includes a fortified zone (with pillboxes) and communication systems
    biodefence, biodefense, biological defence, biological defense

    procedures involved in taking defensive measures against attacks using biological agents
    chemical defence, chemical defense

    procedures involved in taking defensive measures against attacks using chemical agents
    minelaying, mining

    laying explosive mines in concealed places to destroy enemy personnel and equipment
    BW defence, BW defense, biological warfare defence, biological warfare defense

    defense against biological warfare
    active air defense

    air defense by the use aircraft or missiles or artillery or electronic countermeasures
    passive air defense

    air defense by the use of deception or dispersion or protective construction
    repulsion, standoff

    the act of repulsing or repelling an attack; a successful defensive stand
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    action, military action

    a military engagement

  4. noun

    an organization of defenders that provides resistance against attack

    defence force, defense, defense force
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    a group that defends a principle
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    organisation, organization

    a group of people who work together

  5. noun

    (sports) the team that is trying to prevent the other team from scoring

    defending team, defense
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    offence, offense

    the team that has the ball (or puck) and is trying to score
    type of:

    squad, team

    a cooperative unit (especially in sports)

  6. noun

    protection from harm

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    type of:


    the activity of protecting someone or something

  7. noun

    (psychiatry) an unconscious process that tries to reduce the anxiety associated with instinctive desires

    defence mechanism, defence reaction, defense, defense mechanism, defense reaction
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    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that conceals your undesirable shortcomings by exaggerating desirable behaviors

    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism represses emotional conflicts which are then converted into physical symptoms that have no organic basis

    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that denies painful thoughts

    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that transfers affect or reaction from the original object to some more acceptable one
    idealisation, idealization

    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that splits something you are ambivalent about into two representations–one good and one bad
    intellectualisation, intellectualization

    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that uses reasoning to block out emotional stress and conflict

    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism in which memory of an unacceptable act or impulse is separated from the emotion originally associated with it

    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism by which your own traits and emotions are attributed to someone else
    rationalisation, rationalization

    (psychiatry) 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

    (psychiatry) 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

    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism in which you flee from reality by assuming a more infantile state

    (psychiatry) the classical defense mechanism that protects you from impulses or ideas that would cause anxiety by preventing them from becoming conscious

    (psychoanalysis) the process whereby emotions are passed on or displaced from one person to another; during psychoanalysis the displacement of feelings toward others (usually the parents) is onto the analyst

    (psychiatry) an attempt to overcome a real or imagined defect or unwanted trait by overly exaggerating its opposite
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    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

  8. noun

    the justification for some act or belief

    defense, vindication
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    apologia, apology

    a formal written defense of something you believe in strongly

    (law) a defense by an accused person purporting to show that he or she could not have committed the crime in question
    alibi, exculpation, excuse, self-justification

    a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.
    extenuation, mitigation

    a partial excuse to mitigate censure; an attempt to represent an offense as less serious than it appears by showing mitigating circumstances
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    a statement in explanation of some action or belief

  9. noun

    the speech act of answering an attack on your assertions

    defense, refutation
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    the speech act of refuting conclusively

    the speech act of refuting by offering a contrary contention or argument
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    the speech act of replying to a question

  10. noun

    the defendant and his legal advisors collectively

    defense, defense lawyers, defense team
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    the lawyers acting for the state to put the case against the defendant
    type of:

    accumulation, aggregation, assemblage, collection

    several things grouped together or considered as a whole

  11. noun

    a defendant’s answer or plea denying the truth of the charges against him

    defense, demurrer, denial
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    criminal prosecution, prosecution

    the institution and conduct of legal proceedings against a defendant for criminal behavior


    a defense that claims the defendant would not have broken the law if not tricked into doing it by law enforcement officials
    type of:

    due process, due process of law

    (law) the administration of justice according to established rules and principles; based on the principle that a person cannot be deprived of life or liberty or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards

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