Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Origin: defend

fend

verb
     
fend

fend for yourself

to look after yourself without needing help from other people:
The kids had to fend for themselves while their parents were away.

fend somebody/something off

phrasal verb
1 to defend yourself against someone who is attacking you [= fight somebody ↔ off]:
Tabitha threw up an arm to fend her attacker off.
2 to defend yourself from something such as difficult questions, competition, or a situation you do not want to deal with:
She uses her secretary to fend off unwanted phone calls.
The company managed to fend off the hostile takeover bid.

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