Difference Between Defense and Defence


Main Difference

There are many words which are confused with each other just by the difference in spelling, and that is the case with these two. Both mean the same and have the same origin but the main difference between the words is that Defense is the one which is used in American English and is the most common spelling across the world while the spelling Defence is used in British, Australian and Canadian English and have decreased in popularity as the spelling.

Comparison Chart

Basis of DistinctionDefenseDefence
DefinitionThe act of defending your own self from the enemy or to protect you from something.Same meaning.
DifferenceAmerican EnglishBritish English
OriginSame origin.Latin word “Defendere” meaning defend yourself.
Parent LanguageTaken from British English.Taken from French (Defens).
SpokenAmerica, Asia, and Africa.Britain, Australia, and Canada.
UsageMore frequentlyLess frequently


This word is mostly used and heard when there is some war going on and the television is showing different things related to it. The meaning is very simple, it is the act of defending your own self from the enemy or to protect yourself from something, it is also a term which is used for resisting against tyranny. The word with the spelling Defense is mostly utilized in the American English while it originated from the British English for the same language and has roots in the Latin and French language. The origin of this word dates back to ancient times and has the parent word of ‘defendere’ which in the language meant to defend yourself. It was then changed to ‘Defensum’ over the years with the modification in the language taking place, but the meaning still stayed the same. Later on, it was imported to the French Language where the word ‘Defens’ was used, and then it migrated to the English language and was used as Defense. This word entered the American English in the 1900’s and has been used more frequently over the years because of the influence it has had on other countries. Many parts of Asia such as India and Pakistan, along with African nations use these spelling since it has become a norm to follow the United States language. This word is also used frequently for purposes such as medical where the defense mechanism is considered the ability of a body to resist any changes in the human being because of a disease.



This word is usually spoken in British English, and hence the spelling difference originates from here. It is also expressed in other types of English language such as Australian and Canadian and the only difference comes in the American English. The etymology of this word has been explained in the above paragraph but elaborating more on the definition, it is something that provides you with the possibility of protecting yourself against the foreign attack. The best example of it will be the use of the military for defending a country and its sovereignty. Every country spends huge amounts of money to get the latest weapons and develop artillery to make sure they have enough resources to resist any attack that is thrown at them. There is an alternative meaning as well, in law terms, it is the case which is put forward by the person or the firm which has been accused of committing a crime. This individual will bring forth some facts or proofs which will help him defend itself against the blame that has been thrown at them. If they are able to defend themselves properly, they will be declared not guilty while if they are not able to prove it, they will be declared guilty. This term has a lot many meanings and references under which it can be used. On the contrary, the use of word Defence has decreased over the past century which is closely related to the fact that the same word with different spelling has taken the precedence and is used predominantly ever since.

Key Differences

  1. The basic definition of both the words Defense and Defence remains the same, and it is the act of defending your own self from the enemy or to protect yourself from something, it is also a term which is used for resisting against tyranny.
  2. The word with the spelling Defense is mostly used in the American English and spoken around the world in places which have more American influence.
  3. The word with the spelling Defence came from the British English and is currently used in other English languages such as Australian and Canadian language.
  4. The world Defence was originated from the Latin and following the French language from the word defendere and defens respectively while the word Defence was originated from the British Dialect.
  5. The word Defense has been used more frequently over the years because of the influence it has had on other countries.
  6. The term Defence has gradually decreased in popularity over the years because of the lessening influence of British rule and dialect.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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