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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 De·fend v. t. [imp. & p. p. Defended; p. pr. & vb. n. Defending.]
 1. To ward or fend off; to drive back or away; to repel. [A Latinism & Obs.]
 Th' other strove for to defend
 The force of Vulcan with his might and main.   --Spenser.
 2. To prohibit; to forbid. [Obs.]
    Which God defend that I should wring from him.   --Shak.
 3. To repel danger or harm from; to protect; to secure against attack; to maintain against force or argument; to uphold; to guard; as, to defend a town; to defend a cause; to defend character; to defend the absent; -- sometimes followed by from or against; as, to defend one's self from, or against, one's enemies.
    The lord mayor craves aid . . . to defend the city.   --Shak.
    God defend the right!   --Shak.
    A village near it was defended by the river.   --Clarendon.
 4. Law. To deny the right of the plaintiff in regard to (the suit, or the wrong charged); to oppose or resist, as a claim at law; to contest, as a suit.
 Syn: -- To Defend, Protect.
 Usage: To defend is literally to ward off; to protect is to cover so as to secure against approaching danger. We defend those who are attacked; we protect those who are liable to injury or invasion. A fortress is defended by its guns, and protected by its wall.
    As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it.   --Is. xxxi. 5.
 Leave not the faithful side
 That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects.   --Milton.