De*fend" (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Defended; p. pr. & vb. n. Defending.] [F. d'efendre, L. defendere; de- + fendere (only in comp.) to strike; perh. akin to Gr. to strike, and E. dint. Cf. Dint, Defense, Fend.]


To ward or fend off; to drive back or away; to repel.

[A Latinism & Obs.]

Th' other strove for to defend The force of Vulcan with his might and main. Spenser.


To prohibit; to forbid.



Which God defend that I should wring from him. Shak.


To repel danger or harm from; to protect; to secure against; attack; to maintain against force or argument; to uphold; to guard; as, to defend a town; to defend a cause; to defend character; to defend the absent; -- sometimes followed by from or against; as, to defend one's self from, or against, one's enemies.

The lord mayor craves aid . . . to defend the city. Shak.

God defend the right! Shak.

A village near it was defended by the river. Clarendon.

4. Law.

To deny the right of the plaintiff in regard to (the suit, or the wrong charged); to oppose or resist, as a claim at law; to contest, as a suit.


Syn. -- To Defend, Protect. To defend is literally to ward off; to protect is to cover so as to secure against approaching danger. We defend those who are attacked; we protect those who are liable to injury or invasion. A fortress is defended by its guns, and protected by its wall.

As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it. Is. xxxi. 5.

Leave not the faithful side That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects. Milton.


© Webster 1913.

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