Offence vs Defence what difference

what is difference between Offence and Defence



offence (countable and uncountable, plural offences)

  1. Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada standard spelling of offense.



Alternative forms

  • defense (American)


From Middle English defens, defense, from Old French defens, defense, from Latin dēfensa (protection).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /dɪˈfɛns/
  • Rhymes: -ɛns


defence (countable and uncountable, plural defences) (British spelling)

  1. The action of defending, of protecting from attack, danger or injury.
    • c. 1598, William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act II, Scene 4,[1]
      In cases of defence ’tis best to weigh
      The enemy more mighty than he seems:
  2. Something used to oppose attacks.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 12,[2]
      And nothing ’gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
      Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
  3. An argument in support or justification of something.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 89,[3]
      Speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt,
      Against thy reasons making no defence.
  4. (team sports) A strategy and tactics employed to prevent the other team from scoring; contrasted with offence.
  5. (team sports) The portion of a team dedicated to preventing the other team from scoring; contrasted with offence.
  6. Government policy or (infra)structure related to the military.
  7. (obsolete) Prohibition; a prohibitory ordinance.
    • 1673, William Temple, “An Essay upon the Advancement of Trade in Ireland” in Miscellanea, London: Edw[ard] Gellibrand, 1680, p. 116,[5]
      [] severe defences may be made against weaving any Linnen under a certain breadth, such as may be of better use to the poorest People []


  • See Thesaurus:defence


  • offence (Commonwealth), offense (US)
Usage notes

The noun spelling is mainly used in the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand, defense is more commonly used in America.

Derived terms



defence (third-person singular simple present defences, present participle defencing, simple past and past participle defenced)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To furnish with defences; to fortify.
    • 1656, John Hales, Dixi Custodiam
      Better manned and more strongly defenced.

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