On the defensive

Prepared for withstanding aggression or attack, as in The debate team’s plan was to keep their opponents on the defensive, or This teacher put students on the defensive about their mistakes. [ c. 1600 ]


Read Also:

  • On the draw

    Related Terms slow on the draw

  • On the eve of

    Just prior to, as in On the eve of the conference the main speaker backed out. This expression uses eve, literally “the night before,” more loosely. [ Late 1700s ]

  • On the fire

    adjective phrase

  • On the front burner

    adjective phrase Getting immediate attention (1970+)

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