v. fend·ed, fend·ing, fends
1. To ward off. Often used with off: fend off an attack.
2. Archaic To defend.
1. To make an effort to resist: fend against the cold.
2. To attempt to manage without assistance: had to fend for ourselves until we were rescued.
[Middle English fenden, short for defenden, to defend; see DEFEND.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.