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Definition of "defense mechanism" [defense mechanism]

  • Biology A physiological reaction of an organism used in self-protection, as against infection. (noun)
  • Psychology Any of various usually unconscious mental processes, including denial, projection, rationalization, and repression, that protect the ego from shame, anxiety, conflict, loss of self-esteem, or other unacceptable feelings or thoughts. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "defense mechanism" in a sentence
  • "The protective, defense mechanism is, according to this view, but secondary to the primary and fundamental purpose of obtaining the autopleasurable gratifications to the psyche."
  • "To put Clark's idea in a nut-shell, it may be said that he believes that the primary purpose of tics is not that of a protective, defense mechanism against unpleasant situations in life but that of obtaining really pleasurable gratifications to the psyche, these autopleasurable acts being based on inherent defects and having a sexual significance in the sense in which sexuality is conceived by Freud."
  • "Sigh-moving-Fast knew that if the target was truly Human, the biped's ill-understood neurological defense mechanism might strike back at the probe with paralyzing fury."