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Difference between Defense or Defence?

Difference between defence or defense?

The terms Defense and Defence represent the same concept—the action of defending or protecting from harm, attack, or criticism. The difference between them lies not in meaning but in the variant of English in which they are used. Defense is the spelling preferred in American English, while Defence is used in British English, along with other varieties of English outside the United States. This article explores the term in its various applications, emphasizing its universal importance across linguistic divides.

FeatureDefense (American English)Defence (British English)
DefinitionThe action of defending from or resisting attack.The action of defending from or resisting attack.
Part of SpeechNounNoun
Usage ContextLegal, military, sports, and more.Legal, military, sports, and more.
Examples“The team’s defense was impenetrable.”“The team’s defence was impenetrable.”

Difference Between Defense and Defence

Definition and Usage

Both Defense and Defence refer to the act or process of defending oneself, an ally, or something of value against attack, criticism, or legal charges. The terms are used across various contexts, including military strategies, legal systems, sports tactics, and psychological coping mechanisms.

Origin of Defense and Defence

The terms derive from the Latin word “defensa,” from “defendere,” meaning “to ward off, protect, or defend.” Over time, the spelling diverged with the American and British English variants, reflecting broader patterns of linguistic evolution in the two dialects.


  • Defense: /dɪˈfɛns/
  • Defence: /dɪˈfɛns/

The pronunciation of Defense and Defence is identical in American and British English, emphasizing the primary difference as orthographic (spelling) rather than phonetic.

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Defense in Sentences (American English)

  1. “The lawyer presented a strong defense in the courtroom.”
    • Refers to the legal argument or strategy used to protect the client.
  2. “Investing in missile defense systems has become a priority for the government.”
    • Indicates military strategies aimed at protecting a country from attacks.
  3. “The player’s defense on the field earned him the player of the game.”
    • Describes an athlete’s actions to prevent the opposing team from scoring.

Use of Defence in Sentences (British English)

  1. “The barrister’s defence was compelling and well-structured.”
    • Similar to the American usage, it refers to legal advocacy.
  2. The country has allocated more funds to its defence budget this year.
    • Pertains to the financial resources dedicated to military protection.
  3. “Her defence against the accusations was to provide a solid alibi.”
    • Refers to a method or argument used for protection against charges or accusations.


While Defense and Defence are spelled differently, reflecting the linguistic preferences of American and British English, respectively, their meanings and applications remain consistent. They are fundamental in discussions about protection and resistance across legal, military, and personal contexts. Recognizing the spelling variation helps in understanding and adapting to the nuances of English language usage globally.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Can “defense” and “defence” be used interchangeably?
    • Yes, but the choice depends on the variant of English being used or preferred. For consistency, it’s advisable to stick with one spelling variant within a document or conversation.
  • Do “defense” and “defence” have the same grammatical applications?
    • Absolutely. Both terms function as nouns within a sentence, despite the spelling differences.
  • Is the difference in spelling recognized globally?
    • Yes, English speakers and writers around the world recognize the difference in spelling as indicative of American versus British English usage.
  • How does context affect the use of “defense”/”defence”?
    • The context—whether legal, military, or sports—does not change the spelling preference. The choice between “defense” and “defence” is purely a matter of linguistic convention related to American or British English.
Differences between British and American English


What is the difference between defence and defense?

The difference between “defence” and “defense” lies in the spelling conventions of British and American English. “Defence” is the correct spelling in British English, while “defense” is the correct spelling in American English.

Which spelling is correct, defense or defence?

Both spellings are correct, but their usage depends on the region. In the United States, “defense” with an “s” is preferred, while in parts of the world where British English is used, “defence” with a “c” is used.

Are there any other spelling differences between British and American English?

Yes, there are numerous spelling differences between British and American English. This discrepancy in spelling extends to other words derived from the same root, such as “defenseless” (American English) and “defenceless” (British English).

Can “defense” be used as a verb?

Using “defense” as a verb is considered incorrect by some style guides, particularly outside the context of sports. It is advisable to use alternative verb forms or rephrase the sentence to preserve grammatical correctness.

How should I use the word “defense” in American English?

In American English, “defense” with an “s” is the accepted spelling. This applies to the word itself, as well as its various inflected forms and derived words. Whether using it as an adjective (e.g., defensive, defenseless) or in specific contexts like sports (e.g., defend against), the spelling with an “s” should be used.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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