General English


  • noun the action of protecting someone or something against attack
  • noun the act of fighting a lawsuit on behalf of a defendant


  • noun the act or skill of batting as it relates to keeping one’s wicket intact rather than to scoring runs
    Citation ‘When I began there was very little length-bowling, very little straight play, and little defence either’ (William Beldham in Pycroft 1854 in HM)
    Citation ‘The art of defence — which is the style of play adapted to stop the ball, as distinguished from the offensive method … — may be roughly divided into forward play and back play’ (Badminton 1888)
  • noun the defensive ‘barrier’, consisting of the bat and sometimes also the padded leg, with which a batsman attempts to protect his wicket
    Citation ‘Border’s defence was beautifully constructed, at least until the end of his career’ (Robin Marlar, Sportstar [Chennai], 4 June 1994)
    Citation ‘Harmison … became faster with each succeeding ball, and finally barged through Langer’s defence, like a nightclub bouncer bursting through a crowd’ (Haigh 2005)
    Citation ‘Hoggy shambled out as if it was an Evening Cup tie at Farsley, but he had long taken pride in a stubborn defence’ (David Hopps, Wisden 2006)


  • noun the party in a legal case that is being sued by the claimant
  • noun the party in a criminal case that is being prosecuted
  • noun the legal team representing a party being sued or prosecuted
  • noun the arguments used when fighting a case
  • noun a document or statement setting out a defendant’s case


  • noun resistance against an attack of a disease
  • noun behaviour of a person which is aimed at protecting him or her from harm


  • noun an act of resisting an attack
  • noun a military power


  • adjective relating to a country’s system of defence
  • noun actions taken to protect someone or something against attack
  • noun the system of armed forces and weapons that a country uses to protect itself from attack by other countries
  • noun something said or done in response to criticism
  • noun the case made in a law court in support of the person who is on trial
  • noun the lawyer or lawyers who speak in court on behalf of the person who is on trial
  • noun measures and structures used to provide protection for something


  • noun in sports, the method or manoeuvres that prevent the other team from scoring
  • noun the sports team members who have responsibility for defence