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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
"With regard to our test for developing the conventional weapons, even the US President made a remark which in effect recognises the self-defensive rights of a sovereign state, saying that it is a small missile test which a lot of countries do," Kwon said.
Even the US president made a remark which in effect recognizes the self-defensive rights of a sovereign state, saying that it is a small missile test which a lot of countries do.
The foreign ministry in Pyongyang said Trump's comments effectively recognised the North's "self-defensive rights" as a sovereign state to conduct "small" missile tests.
The draft of the resolution indicates that both the TRA and the Six Assurances have laid the foundations to US-Taiwan relations, reiterating that Washington should sell self-defensive weapons to Taiwan on a regular basis as Taiwan is a key player in Washington's free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.
"The international community must condemn Hizbullah in the strongest terms and stand by Israel's self-defensive measures," he continued.
Its flagship product, Jscrambler, is the world leader in JavaScript Application Security, making applications self-defensive and resilient to tampering and reverse-engineering on the client-side.
North Korea vowed Sunday to strengthen its self-defensive nuclear deterrence, rejecting the new U.N.
North Korea's nuclear weapons are a self-defensive deterrence not in contradiction of international law, its foreign ministry added.
"Should the United States and its followers try to enforce the naval blockade against our country, we will see it as an act of war and respond with merciless self-defensive counter-measures, as we have warned repeatedly," Korean Central News Agency reported on Friday, citing a foreign ministry spokesperson.
General Assembly in September, Foreign Minister Ri defended his country's missile and nuclear programs as a "righteous self-defensive measure" in the face of U.S.
The North Korean message that aggrieved Trump was released by the country's foreign ministry on Saturday and described Trump's 12-day tour of Asia as "a warmonger's trip for confrontation with our country, trying to remove our self-defensive nuclear deterrent." The statement also criticised the "reckless remarks by an old lunatic like Trump will never scare us or stop our advance."
The US "is trying to use Pyongyang's legitimate self-defensive measures as an excuse to strangle and completely suffocate it", the ministry noted.