WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
ˈself-deˈfense,  n. [uncountable]
  1. the act of defending one's person by force:The police officer shot the robber in self-defense.
  2. an act or instance of protecting one's own interests, etc., as by argument:"I was just trying to help,'' he muttered in self-defense.
Also,[esp. Brit.,] ˈself-deˈfence. 
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
self-de•fense  (selfdi fens, self′-),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. the act of defending one's person when physically attacked, as by countering blows or overcoming an assailant:the art of self-defense.
  2. a claim or plea that the use of force or injuring or killing another was necessary in defending one's own person from physical attack:He shot the man who was trying to stab him and pleaded self-defense at the murder trial.
  3. an act or instance of defending or protecting one's own interests, property, ideas, etc., as by argument or strategy.
Also,[esp. Brit.,] self-de•fence.  self-de•fensive, adj. 
  • 1645–55

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