- When a country builds up its army in preparation for an attack to secure its borders, this is an example of when it takes a defensive position.
- When you are over-sensitive about your mother-in-law's criticisms of your housekeeping skills and you are constantly ready to say "I clean fine!" this is an example of a time when you are defensive.
The definition of defensive is something designed to protect or secure, or being quick to defend against criticism or anticipating criticism or complaint.
- of or for defense
- designating or of the side that defends a goal, basket, etc. in a contest
- constantly feeling under attack and hence quick to justify one's actions
Origin of defensiveMiddle English and Old French defensif from Medieval Latin defensivus from Classical Latin defensus: see defense
- Obs. something that defends
- a position of defense: chiefly in the phrase on the defensive, in a condition of resisting or being ready to resist attack or danger
- Intended or appropriate for defending; protective.
- a. Intended to withstand or deter aggression or attack: a defensive weapons system; defensive behavior.b. Of or relating to the effort to prevent an opponent from gaining points in a game or athletic contest.c. Performed so as to avoid risk, danger, or legal liability: defensive driving; defensive medicine.
- Of or relating to defense.
- Psychology Constantly protecting oneself from criticism, exposure of one's shortcomings, or other real or perceived threats to the ego.
- A means of defense.
- An attitude or position of defense.
(comparative more defensive, superlative most defensive)
- Intended for defence; protective.
- a defensive perimeter
- Intended to deter attack.
- a defensive missile system
- Performed so as to minimise risk.
- defensive driving
- Displaying an inordinate sensitivity to criticism.
- (cricket) Of a bowling or fielding tactic designed to prevent the other side from scoring runs.; of a batting tactic designed to prevent being out.
- (sports) Pertaining to defense, as opposed to attack.
- In a state or posture of defense.
- on the defensive
From Middle French défensif