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1. Defense of oneself when physically attacked: took a course in self-defense.
2. Defense of what belongs to oneself, as one's works or reputation.
3. Law The use of force against another person as permitted by the law when that person is perceived as presenting an immediate or imminent threat to one's own life or safety.

self′-de·fen′sive adj.


1. the act of defending one's person by physical force.
2. a claim or plea that the use of force was necessary in defending one's own person.
3. an act or instance of protecting one's own interests, property, etc., as by argument.
Also, esp. Brit.,self′-defence′.
self′-defen′sive, adj.


A commander has the authority and obligation to use all necessary means available and to take all appropriate action to defend that commander's unit and other US forces in the vicinity from a hostile act or hostile intent. Force used should not exceed that which is necessary to decisively counter the hostile act or intent and ensure the continued safety of US forces or other persons and property they are ordered to protect. US forces may employ such force in self-defense only so long as the hostile force continues to present an imminent threat.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.self-defense - the act of defending yourselfself-defense - the act of defending yourself  
protection - the activity of protecting someone or something; "the witnesses demanded police protection"
martial art - any of several Oriental arts of weaponless self-defense; usually practiced as a sport; "he had a black belt in the martial arts"


(American) self-defense (selfdiˈfens) noun
defence of one's own body, property etc against attack. He killed his attacker in self-defence.


دِفَاعٌ عَنِ النَّفْس sebeobrana selvforsvar Selbstverteidigung αυτοάμυνα defensa propia itsepuolustus autodéfense samoobrana autodifesa 自衛 정당방위 zelfverdediging selvforsvar samoobrona autodefesa самозащита självförsvar การป้องกันตัวเอง meşru müdafaa sự tự vệ 自卫
References in classic literature ?
Only in the last extremity of self-defense would a Martian warrior kill a prisoner; we like to save them for other purposes," and his face bespoke possibilities that were not pleasant to dwell upon.
And when he killed for revenge, or in self-defense, he did that also without hysteria, for it was a very businesslike proceeding which admitted of no levity.
for a sailor aboard is master, as a citizen is in his chamber; I was going, then, in self-defense, to cut the gentleman in two, when, all at once - believe me or not, monsieur - the great carriage case opened of itself, I don't know how, and there came out of it a sort of a phantom, his head covered with a black helmet and a black mask, something terrible to look upon, which came towards me threatening with its fist.
I saw my companions; the brave fellows lay dead where they had slept, javelined to death without a chance at self-defense.
They were too well occupied in self-defense to attempt to halt him, nor could they have done so other than by the wasting of a precious bullet which might be needed the next instant to turn the charge of a savage foe.
With his civilized friends he had hunted big game with the weapons of civilization and though he never had killed except for food or in self-defense he had amused himself firing at inanimate targets thrown into the air and had perfected himself in the use of firearms without realizing that he had done so.
There was naught for Paul of Merely to do but draw his own weapon, in self-defense, for the sharp point of the boy's sword was flashing in and out against his unprotected body, inflicting painful little jabs, and the boy's tongue was murmuring low-toned taunts and insults as it invited him to draw and defend himself or be stuck "like the English pig you are.
They'll have to fight here in self-defense," said Stella.
But I was raised in the United States, and I won't allow any one-horse chicken of the Land of Ev to run over me and put on airs, as long as I can lift a claw in self-defense.
Consider yourself encouraged," she whispered; and instantly added, with the ineradicable female instinct of self-defense, "within limits
It looked like a high-handed proceed- ing; but it was really a case of legitimate self-defense.
Levin in self-defense began to describe what took place in the meetings in his district.