Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
A plea or legal defense strategy in which the defendant claims that their actions were solely the result of carrying out the orders of superiors and that, as such, they should not be found guilty of such actions. Refers to the use of such a defense by political and military leaders of defeated Nazi Germany in the Nuremberg Trials of 1945–46. Against the charge of unlawful murder during wartime, the staff sergeant's defense attorney put forward a Nuremberg defense, claiming that the killings were carried out under direct orders by superior officers.
See also: defense
attack is the best form of defense
Launching an offensive is the best way to protect oneself. I need to start some rumors about Dean, before he comes after me. I know it sounds harsh, but attack is the best form of defense!
the best defense is a good offense
Proactively attacking one's opponents or enemies is the best way to protect oneself, since they will be occupied with defending themselves, rather than attacking. They have a lot of scoring power, so we need to attack the goal early and wear them out. The best defense is a good offense, girls.
the noble art (of self-defense)
The sport of boxing. Any two yahoos can get into a fistfight, but it takes real skill, dedication, and training to learn the noble art of self-defense. He spent most of his career training in the noble art before joining the world of mixed martial arts last year.
spring to (one's) defense
To begin defending one very quickly or abruptly. I appreciate the thought, but I don't need you springing to my defense every time someone starts arguing with me. Thankfully, a group of people in the bar sprang to her defense when the man started assaulting her. The boss singled out Jonathan when he started criticizing the progress of the project, so I sprang to his defense.
leap to (one's) defense
To begin defending one very quickly or abruptly. I appreciate the thought, but I don't need you leaping to my defense every time someone starts arguing with me. Thankfully, a group of people in the bar leaped to her defense when the man started assaulting her. The boss singled out Jonathan when he started criticizing the progress of the project, so I leaped to his defense.
best defense is a good offense
Prov. If you attack your opponents, they will be so busy fighting off your attack that they will not be able to attack you. (Often associated with sports. Often pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, similar to offense.) The team mostly practiced offensive moves because the coach believed that the best defense is a good offense. Jim thought that the best defense is a good offense, so he always tried to pass other drivers before they could pass him.
spring to someone's defense
Fig. to go quickly to defend someone. (Can be against physical or verbal attack.) Fred was attacked and Ralph sprang to his defense. We sprang to Mary's defense when she was accused of doing wrong.
A desperate final measure. In military terminology of the seventeenth century the “last ditch” was the ultimate line of defense. By the eighteenth century the term was being used figuratively, as in Thomas Jefferson’s description, “A government driven to the last ditch by the universal call for liberty.”