Definition of defensively in English:


Pronunciation /dəˈfensivlē/ /dəˈfɛnsɪvli/


  • 1In a manner intended to defend or protect.

    ‘both countries say they acted defensively when they sent troops in’
    • ‘Negative encounters with black bears usually are the result of bears reacting defensively rather than aggressively.’
    • ‘The file stated that he "did not appear to act defensively immediately prior to being shot".’
    • ‘Surprised people tend to react emotionally and attacked people tend to react defensively, and you must fight down both urges.’
    • ‘The Indians knew that they could not take this war to England and had to fight defensively.’
    • ‘I still believe that violence can be used defensively without mutating into a predatory urge to control and ultimately destroy everything in its path.’
    • ‘I tell her about the importance of safety, of driving defensively, of being a better driver than I am.’
    • ‘The Romans had encountered heavily armoured bowmen in the armies of Sassanid Persia from the 2nd century onwards; but these were generally deployed defensively.’
    • ‘The only real thing which can change this is to raise awareness of drivers, and to encourage bikers to protect themselves and ride defensively.’
    • ‘This tradition of saving up to wage war, either aggressively or defensively, has continued on into the modern world of corporate warfare.’
    • ‘The gatekeepers of information and judgment will instinctively and defensively protect their turf, rather than question their own legitimacy.’
    1. 1.1In a way that relates to the defending of a goal against the opposition in sports.
      ‘the team is struggling defensively’
      ‘a complete player both offensively and defensively’
      • ‘If you play defensively for too long, you won't be able to block attacks, which keeps the action fast paced.’
      • ‘Indeed, the Warriors had more lapses defensively and were frustrated offensively, as they have been throughout 2004.’
      • ‘I find it an honour to be able to be coached defensively from one of the best defenders to play the women's game.’
      • ‘This only paved the way for point guard Burnett to shine in the second half, as the rest of the team seemed to be faltering defensively.’
      • ‘Michelle has been rock-solid for us all season and she's really starting to improve defensively.’
  • 2In a way intended to challenge or avoid criticism.

    ‘he reacted defensively to attacks from fellow critics’
    ‘CEOs have responded defensively to the onslaught on their profession’
    • ‘Paloma answered defensively, "You opened my mail without my permission!".’
    • ‘Swallowing defensively, Mark said, " Don't look at me!".’
    • ‘She gave Asha a disapproving look; her daughter laughed nervously and backed away, hands raised defensively.’
    • ‘"Hey, we Wesleys are friendly people," I retorted defensively.’
    • ‘Then he says, a bit defensively, that network television will still have the most mass-market audience available to mass marketers.’
    • ‘He added rather defensively: It would not be worth doing if it was going to cause enormous regional consternation.’
    • ‘"That's so not true" he countered defensively, looking as if he was genuinely hurt.’
    • ‘These interviews result in politicians talking defensively about how great a place Ireland is to invest and how the closures have nothing to do with Irish competitiveness.’
    • ‘Despite this, she reacts defensively when I ask if she ever took part in any direct action, describing herself as a veteran of many marches.’
    • ‘When you explore gender issues, women respond immediately whereas men respond defensively unless they are very open.’



/dəˈfensivlē/ /dəˈfɛnsɪvli/