defensive Definition

  • 1used or intended to defend or protect
  • 2very anxious to challenge or avoid criticism

Using defensive: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "defensive" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The army took defensive positions around the city.

  • Example

    She became defensive when I asked about her grades.

  • Example

    He always gets defensive when someone criticizes his work.

  • Example

    The company's defensive strategy helped it survive the economic downturn.

defensive Synonyms and Antonyms

Idioms Using defensive

  • in a position of being criticized or attacked and having to defend oneself


    The politician was on the defensive during the debate, trying to explain his controversial policies.

  • play defense

    to take a defensive position or approach, especially in sports


    The team needs to play defense if they want to win this game.

  • to start defending oneself or one's position, especially in response to criticism or attack


    When the CEO's decision was questioned, he immediately went on the defensive.

Phrases with defensive

  • driving in a way that reduces the risk of accidents, especially by being aware of potential hazards and following traffic laws


    Defensive driving is an important skill for all drivers to learn.

  • a player in American football who lines up on the defensive line and is responsible for stopping the opposing team's running plays


    The defensive tackle made a crucial stop on fourth down.

  • an unconscious psychological process that helps a person cope with anxiety or other unpleasant emotions


    Projection is a common defensive mechanism in which a person attributes their own unacceptable thoughts or feelings to someone else.


Summary: defensive in Brief

The term 'defensive' [dɪˈfɛnsɪv] describes something that is used or intended to defend or protect, such as a military position or a company strategy. It can also describe a person who is very anxious to challenge or avoid criticism, as in 'She became defensive when I asked about her grades.' 'Defensive' extends into phrases like 'defensive driving,' and idioms like 'on the defensive,' denoting a position of being criticized or attacked and having to defend oneself.

How do native speakers use this expression?