defensive(redirected from on the defensive)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
Related to on the defensive: worse for wear, so much for, give a shot, be damned, not a chance
1. Intended or appropriate for defending; protective.
2. Psychology Constantly protecting oneself from criticism, exposure of one's shortcomings, or other real or perceived threats to the ego.
1. Defending; protecting from injury.
2. In behavioral health, inordinately self-protective, esp. in response to criticism or inquiries by others.