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.