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Related to on the defensive: worse for wear, so much for, give a shot, be damned, not a chance
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Synonyms for defensive

Synonyms for defensive

an attitude of defensiveness (especially in the phrase 'on the defensive')

intended or appropriate for defending against or deterring aggression or attack

Related Words


attempting to justify or defend in speech or writing

References in classic literature ?
The relations between Durdles and Deputy are of a capricious kind; for, on Durdles's turning himself about with the slow gravity of beery suddenness, Deputy makes a pretty wide circuit into the road and stands on the defensive.
Man to man they were the stronger; but they fought on the defensive only, which enabled the boys to hunt in pairs and choose their quarry.
Being always on the defensive toward her own sisters, it was natural that she should be keenly conscious of her superiority, even as the weakest Dodson, over a husband's sister, who, besides being poorly off, and inclined to "hang on" her brother, had the good-natured submissiveness of a large, easy-tempered, untidy, prolific woman, with affection enough in her not only for her own husband and abundant children, but for any number of collateral relations.