on the defensive


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.

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
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.
See also: