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1. 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.
3. Of or relating to defense.
4. Psychology Constantly protecting oneself from criticism, exposure of one's shortcomings, or other real or perceived threats to the ego.
1. A means of defense.
2. An attitude or position of defense.
on the defensive
Prepared to withstand or counter aggression or attack.

de·fen′sive·ly adv.
de·fen′sive·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.defensiveness - excessive sensitivity to criticism; "his defensiveness was manifested in hurt silence"; "the fear of being sued for malpractice has magnified physicians' defensiveness"
sensitiveness, sensitivity - the ability to respond to affective changes in your interpersonal environment
bunker mentality - defensiveness resulting from repeated attacks; "after so many suicide bombings the Israelis have to resist developing a bunker mentality"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[dɪˈfensɪvnɪs] N (= tone) → tono m defensivo; (= attitude) → actitud f defensiva
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Sinkevicius sees the potential for an elongated auto cycle following changes to the Fed policy, he noted, adding that he is also drawn to the defensiveness of the dealer model and investor positioning.
Among their topics are developing a culturally competent and inclusive curriculum: a comprehensive framework for teaching multicultural psychology, weaving American Indian and Alaska Native topics into the psychology curriculum, teaching about poverty and social class: fostering class consciousness, overcoming student defensiveness in social psychology courses: a collaborative workshop for discussing privilege and prejudice, and including social determinants of health disparities in health psychology.
These Sensory Mini Mats are sensory integration tools designed for sensory seekers of all ages to provide a non-threatening interaction for tactile defensiveness and to engage children to touch and describe textures.
Anticipate potential areas of conflict and prepare and practice a calm, simple, level-headed response based on empathy rather than defensiveness.
The state as colluder everyone is more or less familiar with, but since 2001-2004 the state's defensiveness has taken a new turn.
A "SYSTEMIC culture of denial and defensiveness" means the introduction of Universal Credit is causing unacceptable hardship to the benefit claimants it was designed to help, a committee of MPs have said.
Skeen also indicates that defensiveness prevents people from being curious and open to new possibilities.
Kazakhstan were as unapologetic for defensiveness - often with six at the back - as they were with their rather agricultural challenges.
Kazakhstan were as unapologetic for defensiveness -often with six at the back - as they were with their rather agricultural challenges.
Subsequently, the prize rules were changed to prevent any writer outside Israel from winning againan act of cultural defensiveness that bespeaks a narrow view of what the Hebrew language can do, and who it is for.
Well into her thirties, Gina hasn't overcome the anger and defensiveness resulting from a bizarre and traumatic childhood.