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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.
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.


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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


(American) self-defense (selfdiˈfens) noun
defence of one's own body, property etc against attack. He killed his attacker in self-defence.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


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
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
If the nation happens, on any emergency, to be more united by the necessity of self-defense, its situation is still deplorable.
Equally unfit for self-government and self-defense, it has long been at the mercy of its powerful neighbors; who have lately had the mercy to disburden it of one third of its people and territories.
Levin in self-defense began to describe what took place in the meetings in his district.
"We do not kill except in self-defense," he replied; "self-defense and punishment.
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.
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.
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."
"You would be first, John Carter; but you may only win that honor by the will of the entire council that Lorquas Ptomel meet you in combat, or should he attack you, you may kill him in self-defense, and thus win first place."
M2 PRESSWIRE-August 26, 2019-: Self-Defense Products Market Is Thriving Worldwide with Victorinox, Unisafe Technologies, SABRE Security Equipment
The man argued that the trial court erred by refusing to submit a self-defense instruction.
Thus, States did very likely not want to support a broad right to self-defense, allowing the use of force by a State on the territory of another State in reaction to occurring or future armed attacks by a local non-State actor, when those States did not explicitly object to the recourse to force against the IS on the territory of Syria.
These laws remove the duty to retreat before using force, including deadly force, in self-defense. And a recently passed Florida law increases the protections afforded to people who use deadly force in self-defense.