Fend off


      • defend oneself or someone else
        To protect or guard against an attack or threat, either physically or verbally

      • withstand difficulties or challenges
        To cope with or endure difficult situations or obstacles, often by using one's own resources or abilities

      • reject or refuse
        To push away or reject something, often in a forceful or determined manner

    Examples of Fend off

    • The sales manager had to fend off numerous objections from the potential client during the negotiation.

      In this example, "fend off" is used in a business context to mean defending against arguments or objections raised by someone during a negotiation. The sales manager was successfully resisting these objections.

    • The team's goalkeeper fended off multiple shots on goal, preventing his team from conceding a goal.

      "Fend off" is used in a sports context to mean stopping or preventing someone or something from scoring or achieving their goal. The goalkeeper was blocking the shots and preventing the opposing team from scoring.

    • When the burglar tried to break into her house, the homeowner fended off the intruder with a stun gun.

      This example demonstrates a self-defense scenario. "Fend off" refers to defending oneself against an attacker or unwanted intruder. The homeowner used a stun gun to drive the burglar away.

    • Due to the threat of a hostile takeover, the CEO of the company had to fend off unwanted advances from rival firms.

      "Fend off" is used here in a business context to describe defending against unwelcome attempts to buy or acquire a company. The CEO was actively resisting other firms' offers.

    • The fighter successfully fended off his opponent's aggressive attacks in the final round, securing his victory.

      In this example, "fend off" is used as a transitive verb meaning to defend oneself against an attack. The fighter in this instance repelled his opponent's assaults in the final round, winning the match.

    • The company's PR department has been fending off critical accusations from the media for months.

      Here, "fend off" is used as a phrasal verb meaning to resist or counteract negative influences. The company's PR team has been addressing and mitigating damaging allegations from the press for quite some time.

    • The chef fended off the rude patron's complaints by calmly explaining the intricacies of the dish.

      The use of "fend off" as a phrasal verb here means to defend against or combat an attack, whether it be verbal or otherwise. The chef faced down the unpleasant customer's grievances by tactfully elucidating the finer points of the prepared meal.

    • The politician fended off rumors of scandal by releasing detailed financial reports.

      Once again, "fend off" is used as a phrasal verb to convey that the politician was actively pushing back against unwanted rumors. This time, the politician took concrete action to refute the allegations by making public his financial records.


    The idiom "fend off" can be used in various situations to convey the idea of defending oneself or someone else, withstanding difficulties or challenges, and rejecting or refusing something. It is often used in a literal sense to describe physically protecting oneself or others from harm or danger, but it can also be used figuratively to describe coping with challenges or pushing away unwanted things or situations.

    In the first meaning, "fend off" suggests actively defending oneself or someone else, typically against an attack or threat. This can be in a physical sense, such as using one's hands to block or push away an attacker, or in a verbal sense, such as using words to protect oneself from criticism or insults.

    In the second meaning, "fend off" implies the ability to withstand or endure difficult situations or challenges. This can refer to both external obstacles, such as financial difficulties or personal struggles, as well as internal challenges, such as doubts or fears. It suggests a sense of resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

    In the third meaning, "fend off" conveys the idea of rejecting or refusing something, often in a forceful manner. This can be used to describe pushing away unwanted advances or offers, or standing up against something that goes against one's beliefs or values.

    Origin of "Fend off"

    The origin of the idiom "fend off" can be traced back to the Old English word "fendan," which meant to defend or protect. It was often used in a literal sense, referring to physical self-defense or protection of one's home or land.

    Over time, the meaning of "fend off" evolved to also include the idea of withstanding or enduring difficulties. This could be due to the physical effort and determination required to defend oneself, which could be translated to other areas of life.

    In terms of rejecting or refusing something, this meaning may have originated from the physical act of pushing away or defending against unwanted physical advances. As the idiom became more commonly used, it also began to be applied to non-physical situations where someone needed to firmly reject or refuse something.

    Overall, the idiom "fend off" has its roots in the idea of protecting oneself or others, and has evolved to encompass a range of meanings related to defending, enduring, and rejecting. Its origins in Old English demonstrate its long-standing presence in the English language and its continued relevance in modern usage.