WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
- the act of defending one's person by force:The police officer shot the robber in self-defense.
- 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.
- the act of defending one's person when physically attacked, as by countering blows or overcoming an assailant:the art of self-defense.
- 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.
- an act or instance of defending or protecting one's own interests, property, ideas, etc., as by argument or strategy.