defensive

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on the defensive

In a state of readiness, willingness, and preparedness to defend oneself against aggression, criticism, or attack. He went on the defensive when we started questioning the originality of his work. She always puts me on the defensive with the accusatory way she talks to me. The home team is on the defensive now as their cross-town rivals try to push for a touchdown in the final minutes of the game.
See also: defensive, on

onto the defensive

In a state of readiness, willingness, and preparedness to defend oneself against aggression, criticism, or attack. He went onto the defensive when we started questioning the originality of his work. She always puts me onto the defensive with the accusatory way she talks to me. The home team was forced onto the defensive now as their cross-town rivals try to push for a touchdown in the final minutes of the game.
See also: defensive
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

on the defensive

Prepared to withstand or counter aggression or attack.
See also: defensive, on
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"The magnitude of your curiosity is the best predictor of whether or not there will be defensiveness."
My reckoning with defensiveness came to a head over the summer.
Defensiveness makes the problem worse by making it more personal.
In an increasingly diverse global community, staunch dogmatism and rigid defensiveness hardly seems like a useful social strategy (Legare & Visala, 2011).
Set defensiveness aside, and listen to what your neighbor says.
Some of the items within the questionnaire scales were aimed in different directions, and needed to be reverse-scored so that higher response values indicated greater secular optimism, spiritual optimism, or defensiveness. Cronbach's alphas were then calculated to determine the inter-item reliability of these scales (secular optimism = .76, spiritual optimism = .93, and defensiveness = .90).
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.
This position is influenced by a long-standing feeling of defensiveness among Brazilians, who say that managing the rainforest is their responsibility.
Michael O'Higgins, chairman of the commission, was critical of the "defensiveness" of the council after Liverpool was given a one-star rating, down from two, in the annual Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA).
This study found a statistically significant inverse relationship between defensiveness and female college students' Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (M.
Evidence of acceptance of the ACOA phenomenon include specific approaches to the treatment of ACOA characteristics (Lewchanin & Sweeney, 1997; Mahon & Kempler, 1995) designed to address issues such as defensiveness, substance abuse, and codependence.
I'm sensing defensiveness. That's one of the biggest complaints about you.