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DEFENSIVE

Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does defensive mean? 

DEFENSIVE (noun)
  The noun DEFENSIVE has 1 sense:

1. an attitude of defensiveness (especially in the phrase 'on the defensive')

  Familiarity information: DEFENSIVE used as a noun is very rare.


DEFENSIVE (adjective)
  The adjective DEFENSIVE has 3 senses:

1. intended or appropriate for defending against or deterring aggression or attack
2. attempting to justify or defend in speech or writing
3. serving as or appropriate for defending or protecting

  Familiarity information: DEFENSIVE used as an adjective is uncommon.


 Dictionary entry details 


DEFENSIVE (noun)


Sense 1defensive [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

An attitude of defensiveness (especially in the phrase 'on the defensive')

Classified under:

Nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents

Synonyms:

defensive; defensive attitude

Hypernyms ("defensive" is a kind of...):

attitude; mental attitude (a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways)


DEFENSIVE (adjective)


Sense 1defensive [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Intended or appropriate for defending against or deterring aggression or attack

Context examples:

defensive weapons / a defensive stance

Similar:

antiaircraft (designed for defense from a surface position against air attack)

antisubmarine (defensive against enemy submarines)

antitank (designed for defense against armored vehicles)

defending (attempting to or designed to prevent an opponent from winning or scoring)

en garde ((fencing) in a defensive stance)

Also:

protective (intended or adapted to afford protection of some kind)

Antonym:

offensive (for the purpose of attack rather than defense)


Sense 2defensive [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Attempting to justify or defend in speech or writing

Synonyms:

justificative; justificatory; defensive

Similar:

apologetic; excusatory (offering or expressing apology)


Sense 3defensive [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Serving as or appropriate for defending or protecting

Context examples:

defensive fortifications / defensive dikes to protect against floods

Similar:

protective (intended or adapted to afford protection of some kind)


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