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on the defensive

weary and ready to defend oneself. John goes on the defensive when his athletic ability is questioned. The child was on the defensive when questioned about cheating.
See also: defensive, on

on the defensive

Prepared for withstanding aggression or attack, as in The debate team's plan was to keep their opponents on the defensive, or This teacher put students on the defensive about their mistakes. [c. 1600]
See also: defensive, on

on/onto the deˈfensive

acting in a way that shows that you expect to be attacked or criticized; having to defend yourself: Their questions about the money put her on the defensive.Warnings of an enemy attack forced the troops onto the defensive. OPPOSITE: on the offensive
See also: defensive, on

on the defensive

Prepared to withstand or counter aggression or attack.
See also: defensive, on
References in periodicals archive ?
It's a fact that can be verified, so it's less likely to lead to defensiveness, he says.
Defensiveness wears many disguises, but for me, it shows itself when I am facing or anticipating criticism.
We've also found, as Gottman did, that the motivation behind this rewriting often comes from the damage caused by one or more of those "four horseman" -- criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.
What can be done to reduce defensiveness regarding one's beliefs and instead promote humility?
FMCG remains the big draw for its defensiveness and strong underlying performance.
The seventh most frequent behavioral symptom involved employees demonstrating abnormal instability, suspiciousness, defensiveness and dislike for management, auditors and organization policies.
Saddled with a couple of adolescents on a camping trip gone wrong in the Pacific Northwest, Sam necessarily drops his callow, macho defensiveness in favor of a tentative maturity.
Defensiveness exacerbates hostilities, escalates tension, and encourages your neighbor to make a mountain out of what you perceive to be a molehill.
This attenuates emotions such as fear and defensiveness, paving the way for effective psychotherapy.
International contributors to 27 chapters treat the human side of medical decision-making and practice sometimes eclipsed by the focus on the technical aspects of operative procedures and defensiveness on the part of healthcare professionals.
The scale contains 22 items with 16 of the items aimed in a defensiveness direction and 6 reverse-scored items aimed in an existential direction.
In general, we expect Swiss banks to outperform their European peers in 2009, due to their relative defensiveness against cyclical credit risk and also robust capital.
Even though she is the star writer on her high school newspaper, her insecurity about her appearance and her resulting defensiveness make her more unpopular than she might be if she could take her parents' advice and accept herself.
The market anticipates a successful outcome, with little other alternatives, but the delay in progress has seen some defensiveness return after the initial euphoria seen last week.
This position is influenced by a long-standing feeling of defensiveness among Brazilians, who say that managing the rainforest is their responsibility.