Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “defensive”

See all translations

defensive

adjective uk   /dɪˈfen.sɪv/ us  

defensive adjective (PROTECTING)

used to protect someone or something against attack: These are purely defensive weapons, not designed for attack.
Opposite
More examples

defensive adjective (SENSITIVE)

C2 too quick to protect yourself from being criticized: When asked about his decision, he got very defensive. There's no need to get so defensive!

defensive adjective (IN SPORT)

in a sports event, trying to prevent the opposing player or players from scoring points, goals, etc.: He's currently the best defensive player on the team.

defensive

noun uk   /dɪˈfen.sɪv/ us  
on the defensive ready to protect yourself because you are expecting to be criticized or attacked
defensively
adverb uk   /-li/ us  
defensiveness
noun [U] uk   /-nəs/ us  
(Definition of defensive from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of defensive?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “defensive” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

pot luck

anything that is available or is found by chance, rather than something chosen, planned, or prepared

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More