English version

put/force somebody on the defensive

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishput/force somebody on the defensiveput/force somebody on the defensiveif you put someone on the defensive in an argument, you attack them so that they are in a weaker positiongo on the offensive an issue that put the White House on the defensive defensive
Examples from the Corpus
put/force somebody on the defensiveMotta always put him on the defensive.This established licensing hours for the first time, and put brewers on the defensive.You guys being a little bit aggressive at the beginning put him on the defensive.The Sangh has put Congress on the defensive by forcing it to dilute its secular tradition.These two seemed friendly enough, but their questions about Sweetheart put him on the defensive.This puts people on the defensive, and they may become silent or get angry.Simple as sneezing to put him on the defensive.The Conservative achievement in the 1980s was to put Labour on the defensive by presenting Thatcherism as a continuation of historic Conservatism.
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