Legal Sense of "Defender"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun May 8 12:13:42 UTC 2011

The OED entry for the word "defender" omits a very common specific legal meaning, that of "defense counsel in a legal action, especially a criminal action."  This is the sense in the phrase "public defender," and in the titles of two television shows called "The Defenders."

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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