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Defensible   /dɪfˈɛnsəbəl/   Listen
Defensible

adjective
1.
Capable of being defended.  Synonym: defendable.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Defensible" Quotes from Famous Books



... facts related in minute detail; a complete picture of the hero, with every virtue justly estimated but with no palliation of weakness or fault; and lastly a triumphant vindication of a theses novel and startling to most, that the earth's barriers are continental, its easy ad defensible highways those of the trackless ocean.... Captain Mahan has revealed the modern world to itself.—American Historical Review, ...
— Lessons of the war with Spain and other articles • Alfred T. Mahan

... later Hellas was startled to hear that Tempe had been evacuated without a blow, and the pass left open to Xerxes. It was said Democrates, in his ever commendable activity, had discovered at the last moment the mountain wall was not as defensible as hoped, and any resistance would have been disastrous. Therefore, whilst the retreat was bewailed, everybody praised the foresight of the orator. Everybody—one should say, except two, Bias and Phormio. They had many conferences ...
— A Victor of Salamis • William Stearns Davis

... in store for the nascent civilisation of Sierra Leone. On a Sunday morning in September 1794, eight French sail appeared off the coast. The town was about as defensible as Brighton; and it is not difficult to imagine the feelings which the sansculottes inspired among Evangelical colonists whose last advices from Europe dated from the very height of the Reign of Terror. There was a party in favour of escaping into the forest with as much ...
— Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay • George Otto Trevelyan

... last time, a change from the printed text is not only justifiable; it is demanded, in order to give additional intensity and power to the phrase, and to avoid the monotony caused by mere repetition. This modification is all the more defensible, as the composer has substituted the orchestra, with the strings tremolo, for the rhythmical harp-figure with which he accompanies the phrase on its first and second presentations. Here ...
— Style in Singing • W. E. Haslam

... likewise his utmost; but on forlorn terms, and without the least guidance from Court. Browne has, by violent industry, raked together, from Mahren and the neighboring countries, certain fractions which raise his Force to 7,000 Foot: these he throws, in small parties, into the defensible points; or, in larger, into the Chief Garrisons. New Cavalry he cannot get; the old 600 Horse he keeps for himself, all the marching Army he has. [Particulars in Helden-Geschichte, i. 465; total of Austrian Force seems to be 7,800 horse ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XII. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... escape capture. But a still greater advantage would be its tendency to cut the enemy's lines in two, by reaching the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, threatening Memphis, which lies one hundred miles due west, and no defensible point between; also Nashville, only ninety miles north-east, and Florence and Tuscumbia in North Alabama, forty miles east. A movement in this direction would do more to relieve our friends in Kentucky, and inspire the loyal hearts in East Tennessee, than the ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... arches as buttresses, supporting entablatures which marked the divisions into stories (Fig. 45). This combination has been assailed as a false and illogical device, but the criticism proceeds from a too narrow conception of architectural propriety. It is defensible upon both artistic and logical grounds; for it not only furnishes a most desirable play of light and shade and a pleasing contrast of rectangular and curved lines, but by emphasizing the constructive ...
— A Text-Book of the History of Architecture - Seventh Edition, revised • Alfred D. F. Hamlin

... family. What would be said of a man who introduced poison in any degree into the food or drink of his child? Is the poisoning of the household atmosphere by the ignorant, thoughtless, or selfish smoker morally more defensible? Tobacco injures health through hereditary influence. The tobacco user begets, more certainly than the non-user, puny children with disordered nervous conditions. Luckily for our race, the women, who have the most important prenatal influence in guarding ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 711, August 17, 1889 • Various

... fortified residence of a king or baron. Fort is the common military term for a detached fortified building or enclosure of moderate size occupied or designed to be occupied by troops. The fortifications of a modern city usually consist of a chain of forts. Any defensible place, whether made so by nature or by art, is a ...
— English Synonyms and Antonyms - With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions • James Champlin Fernald

... Ghost are hardly defensible:—but I would call your attention to the characteristic difference between this Ghost, as a superstition connected with the most mysterious truths of revealed religion,—and Shakspeare's consequent reverence in his treatment ...
— Literary Remains, Vol. 2 • Coleridge

... this we do not suggest that such an attempt to explain the phenomena of evil {89} by God's supposed absence from the world is defensible; we do say that the belief in His all-encompassing nearness makes those phenomena even more difficult of explanation than they were before. The devout deist could always comfort himself with the thought that, however mysterious God's standing afar off might be, by and by, when He drew nigh ...
— Problems of Immanence - Studies Critical and Constructive • J. Warschauer

... perceive how much more defensible the new doctrine is than the old one. Even could the supporters of the Development Hypothesis merely show that the origination of species by the process of modification is conceivable, they would be in a better position than their opponents. But they can do much more than this. ...
— Essays: Scientific, Political, & Speculative, Vol. I • Herbert Spencer

... political conditions of the peninsula necessarily indicated the eastern, or Coromandel, coast as the scene of operations. Trincomalee, in the adjacent island of Ceylon, though unhealthy, offered an excellent and defensible harbor, and thus acquired first-rate strategic importance, all the other anchorages on the coast being mere open roadsteads. From this circumstance the trade-winds, or monsoons, in this region also had strategic bearing. From the autumnal ...
— The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 • A. T. Mahan

... "o" should be pronounced long. It seems certain that Morgan never pronounced the word as "O-te-sa-ga." This form of the name, however, when the third syllable carries the accent and a broad "a," is defensible on the ground of its majestic euphony, for it should be permitted to take some liberties with a name that has been spelled by high authorities in a dozen ...
— The Story of Cooperstown • Ralph Birdsall

... all wits in that direction. Thoroughly Calvinistic, it is also a wonderfully clear and precise statement of Calvinism. Framed after long controversies, it had the advantage of all the distinctions which are made only during controversy. It is a fortress made defensible at all points, because it has been attacked so often that all its weak places have been seen and marked. It is a masterpiece ...
— Orthodoxy: Its Truths And Errors • James Freeman Clarke

... 1841. An investigation into the state of the fortifications of that place showed them, in their existing condition, to be incapable of resisting a vigorous assault. But it was resolved to occupy the place, and to Captain George Broadfoot, as garrison engineer, was committed the duty of making it defensible. This assuredly was no light task. The enciente was far too extensive for the slender garrison, and its tracing was radically bad. The ramparts were so dilapidated that in places they were scarcely discernible, and the ...
— The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80 • Archibald Forbes

... soldiers according to their draught and strength have good bowes, well nocked, well strynged, every strynge whippe in their nocke, and in the myddes rubbed with wax, braser, and shuting glove, some spare strynges trymed as aforesaid, every man one shefe of arrows, with a case of leather defensible against the rayne, and in the same fower and twentie arrowes, whereof eight of them should be lighter than the residue, to gall or astoyne the enemye with the hail-shot of light arrows, before they shall come within the danger of the harquebuss shot. Let every ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Vol. 19. No. 538 - 17 Mar 1832 • Various

... Indians withdrew, forming themselves into three parties, and camped a short distance off, making the night hideous with fiendish yells and the horrid music of their war dances. During the night the garrison retreated into a still smaller and more defensible part of the town, committing the rest to flames. A brief demonstration was made by the enemy on the following morning, but finding the whites so well posted, they finally abandoned the contest and withdrew. The whites, exhausted and cut up, joyfully welcomed a cessation ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3 No 2, February 1863 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... before the House for consideration, in any form whatever. In this instance, as in most others, where the merits of slavery are involved, the supporters of that institution manifested a timidity, a want of confidence in its legitimacy, of the most suspicious nature. If slavery is lawful and defensible—if it violates no true principle among men, no human right bestowed by the Creator—if it can be tolerated and perpetuated in harmony with republican institutions and our Declaration of Independence—if its existence in the bosom of the Confederacy involves no incongruity, ...
— Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams - Sixth President of the Unied States • William H. Seward

... their guns the Germans fled across the Petit Morin in such confusion that they did not even hold the very defensible heights to the north of the river. We followed on their heels through St Ouen and up the hill behind the village. Three of us went on ahead and sat for two hours in a trench with borrowed rifles waiting for the Germans to come out of a wood. But it began to ...
— Adventures of a Despatch Rider • W. H. L. Watson

... the strong points in the rival position. In a serious controversy the right is seldom or never all on one side; and in the normal course of events both theories undergo some modification through the influence of their opponents, until a compromise, not always logically defensible, brings to an end the acute stage of the controversy. Such a tension of rival movements is very apparent in the religious thought of our day. The quickening of spiritual life in our generation has ...
— Outspoken Essays • William Ralph Inge

... the construction of the bridge across the harbor, which was to have a roadway of sixteen feet and to bear heavy vehicles. He also conferred with Todleben on other measures to protect the withdrawal, and accordingly barricades were built across the streets and formed into armed and defensible works which were intended, as a last resort, to hold in check the assailants. Preparations were also made for blowing up the principal ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 17 • Charles Francis Horne

... forbade the defence of a fort not rationally defensible; but it was over hardly construed against a gallant gentleman. Grey was a fierce, stern man. It was Grey who hung the priests in Oxfordshire from their church towers. It was Grey who led the fiery charge upon the Scots at Musselburgh, and with a pike wound, which ...
— The Reign of Mary Tudor • James Anthony Froude

... whether the latter were right or wrong. Such was its policy, and it carried it out with fatal consistency. To support its ally in actual war without respect to the justice of the quarrel may be defensible, but to support it in a time of peace in an iniquitous demand and a policy of gross discourtesy to friendly States offends every ...
— The Evidence in the Case • James M. Beck

... He had left, he said, some men in it at his own charge. He criticised the late Governor's 'immeasurable reckoning' of her Majesty's moneys. In July, 1602, he went again over, and spent several weeks. He saw that the castles were defensible enough, and the country reasonably well provided. The tradition is that he promoted a profitable trade between Jersey and Newfoundland. With Newfoundland he had a near family connexion through Humphrey Gilbert. He instituted a register of Jersey lands, and abolished ...
— Sir Walter Ralegh - A Biography • William Stebbing

... opinions beyond the usual tone of private conversation, whether they go no further than attempts at oral proselytism, or whether they commit themselves to the press, do not reflect that they have ceased to stand upon the ground on which their process is defensible. Aspiring to lead others, they have never given themselves the fair chance of being first led by other others into something better than they can start for themselves; and that they should first do this ...
— A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I (of II) • Augustus De Morgan

... ratio, where is the Zoologist that will give account of it? There was not anything considerable of fighting; but of bullying, plundering, murdering and being murdered, a frightful amount. There are seizures of castles, convents, defensible houses; marches at a rate like that of antelopes, through the Lithuanian parts, boggy, hungry, boundless, opening to the fancy the Infinitude of Peat, in the solid and the fluid state. This, perhaps, is the finest species of ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XXI. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... seen that the plan of the castle was to have it divided into spaces separately defensible, so that an enemy had to establish his footing by a series ...
— A History of the Japanese People - From the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era • Frank Brinkley and Dairoku Kikuchi

... night. He was busy sorting up his ideas of life and revising them in the light of the day's experience. The more he thought of his behavior the less defensible it appeared. By midnight he was admitting that he had got just what was ...
— Dennison Grant - A Novel of To-day • Robert Stead

... v. 9), Johnson noticed the difference of the pronunciation of great. 'Some words have two sounds which may be equally admitted as being equally defensible by authority. Thus great is ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell

... method of bringing the searchlight of criticism to bear on the action or inaction of the executive government and its subordinates. A minister has to be constantly asking himself, not merely whether his proceedings and the proceedings of those for whom he is responsible are legally or technically defensible, but what kind of answer he can give if questioned about them in the House, and how that answer will be received."[187] Any member is privileged to bring forward a motion censuring the Government or any member or department thereof, and a motion ...
— The Governments of Europe • Frederic Austin Ogg

... direction would be exaggerated while he was occupied with a purely Biblical subject. And he may have thought, if he thought about the question at all, that the contemptuous tone adopted about classical culture in the speech of Christ was not only dramatically defensible, but balanced by the far finer passage, evidently written from his {205} heart, in which Satan exalts the glories of Athens. It is, perhaps, the most famous ...
— Milton • John Bailey

... placed at the mouth of that narrow stream, where it joins the main river, some twenty miles from the coast. This point was known to be further protected by a battery of unknown strength, at Wiltown Bluff, a commanding and defensible situation. The obstructions consisted of a row of strong wooden piles across the river; but we convinced ourselves that these must now be much decayed, and that Captain Trowbridge, an excellent engineer officer, could remove them by the proper apparatus. Our proposition ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 118, August, 1867 • Various

... looks towards the river, and consists of a few twelve-pound cannon; but probably the chief danger of attack was from the land, and the chief pains have been taken to render the castle defensible in that quarter. There are flights of stone stairs ascending up through the natural avenue, in the cleft of the double-summited rock; and about midway there is an arched doorway, beneath which there used ...
— Passages From the English Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... battle-ground. This decision the General in command seems to have arrived at, as the flaming telegrams in the Dailies, in the course of a day or two, announced that the Rebels were discovered in great force, strongly posted in a most defensible position. After the lapse of an hour or two, the order for the homeward march was given, and strange to say, that although marching by the flank the last man had disappeared from their view, behind the cover of the wood, before they opened fire. They then commenced shelling the woods ...
— Red-Tape and Pigeon-Hole Generals - As Seen From the Ranks During a Campaign in the Army of the Potomac • William H. Armstrong

... wished to avoid persecution. In discussion with two superior men, Andrewes and Casaubon, he developed conciliatory views pointing to eventual reunion. His mother had been the champion and martyr of Catholic monarchy. His wife was a convert of the Jesuits. He regarded the Penal Laws as defensible on the ground of political danger only, not on the ground of religion. He desired to obtain a working arrangement with Rome, which should ensure the loyalty of the Catholics, in return for the inestimable benefit of toleration. Pope Clement VIII, Aldobrandini, was ...
— Lectures on Modern history • Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

... would make no Difficulty, tho she had been the Wife of Hector, for the sake of a Kingdom, to marry the Enemy of her Husbands Family and Country; and indeed who can deny but she might be still an honest Woman, but no Heroine? That may be defensible, nay laudable in one Character, which would be in the highest Degree exceptionable in another. When Cato Uticensis killed himself, Cottius a Roman of ordinary Quality and Character did the same thing; upon which one said, smiling, Cottius might have lived, tho Caesar has seized ...
— The Spectator, Volume 2. • Addison and Steele

... (Auto. p. 114) tells how in 1745 he found 'Professor Maclaurin busy on the walls on the south side of Edinburgh, endeavoring to make them more defensible [against the Pretender]. He had even erected some small cannon.' See ante, iii, 15, for a ridiculous story told of him ...
— Life Of Johnson, Volume 5 • Boswell

... advantages of the locality are indicated by the fact that the chief town of Northern Africa, Tunis, has grown up within a short distance of the site. It combined the excellences of a sheltered situation, a good soil, defensible eminences, and harbours which a little art made all that was to be desired in ancient times and with ancient navies. These basins, partly natural, partly artificial, still exist;[591] but their communication with ...
— History of Phoenicia • George Rawlinson

... assured, most assiduous worthies, that I am fully sensible of all your merits, and can appreciate justly your great usefulness to the rising generation. You are the sappers and miners of knowledge, who attack and destroy the citadel of sense before it is scarcely defensible. It is no fault of yours if the stripling of Eton is not, at eighteen, well initiated into all the mysteries of life, excepting only the, to him, mysterious volumes of the classics. To do justice to ...
— The English Spy • Bernard Blackmantle

... Richard, 'and I will look to points which can be made defensible; and the old powder-plot boys could not have made a more desperate resistance than we shall. Redgauntlet,' continued he, 'I see some of our friends are looking pale; but methinks your nephew has more mettle in his eye now than when we were in ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... destined to a Restoration, if the Jewish Mission is the propagation of an idea, on what ground is the continued existence of Israel as a separate organisation defensible or justified? Israel is indestructible, said Jehuda Halevi in the twelfth century; certainly Israel is undestroyed. When Frederick the Great asked what should make him believe in God, he received in answer, 'the survival of the Jews.' Dr. Guttmann of Breslau ...
— Judaism • Israel Abrahams

... without heirs, and without payment of the price, the estate of Ellangowan was again thrown upon the hands of Mr. Godfrey Bertram's creditors, the right of most of whom was however defensible, in case Henry Bertram should establish his character of heir of entail. This young gentleman put his affairs into the hands of Mr. Pleydell and Mr. Mac-Morlan, with one single proviso, that though he himself should be obliged again to go to India, every debt, justly and honourably ...
— Guy Mannering • Sir Walter Scott

... of guiding themes binds the score together into a harmonious whole. A novelty in its arrangement is the plan of an orchestral accompaniment to the dialogue. AEsthetically this is perhaps hardly defensible, but in several scenes—notably that of Cours-la-Reine, in which Manon's agitated interview with the Count stands out in forcible relief against the graceful background formed by a minuet heard in the distance—the result is completely successful. 'Le Cid' (1885) and 'Le ...
— The Opera - A Sketch of the Development of Opera. With full Descriptions - of all Works in the Modern Repertory • R.A. Streatfeild

... business of the powders, which so many have censured, is, I am relieved to say, not mine at all but the Brownies'. Of another tale, in case the reader should have glanced at it, I may say a word: the not very defensible story of OLALLA. Here the court, the mother, the mother's niche, Olalla, Olalla's chamber, the meetings on the stair, the broken window, the ugly scene of the bite, were all given me in bulk and detail as I have tried to write them; to this I added only ...
— Across The Plains • Robert Louis Stevenson

... foundation of every act of the will. It is based upon the broadest induction, and it is verified by the most constant, regular, and universal of deductive processes. But we must recollect that any human belief, however broad its basis, however defensible it may seem, is, after all, only a probable belief, and that our widest and safest generalizations are simply statements of the highest degree of probability. Though we are quite clear about the constancy of the order ...
— American Addresses, with a Lecture on the Study of Biology • Tomas Henry Huxley

... suit quietly, he would extort it by force, obtruding his conceits violently as an enemy, or imposing them arbitrarily as a tyrant. Thus doth he really disparage and slur his cause, however good and defensible in itself. ...
— Sermons on Evil-Speaking • Isaac Barrow

... 'originating Mind' is the cause of evolution is a proposition that can be entertained so long only as no attempt is made to unite in thought its two terms in the alleged relation. That it should be accepted as a matter of faith may be a defensible position, provided good cause is shown why it should be so accepted; but that it should be accepted as a matter of understanding—as a statement making the order of the universe ...
— A Candid Examination of Theism • George John Romanes

... the only defensible solution of the problem, is that he, his fellow sufferers, and Knight himself were one and all the victims of the uncontrollable impulses of a hysterical child. The case bears too strong a resemblance to the Tedworth ...
— Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters • H. Addington Bruce

... round its flanks. To us, who are endowed with that profound military wisdom which only comes with a knowledge of the event, it is obvious that with a defending force which could not place more than 12,000 men in the fighting line, the true defensible frontier was the line of the Tugela. As a matter of fact, Ladysmith was chosen, a place almost indefensible itself, as it is dominated by high hills ...
— The Great Boer War • Arthur Conan Doyle

... besides that, to build another wall in the midst of the city, in order to exclude the market-place from the garrison, which was in the citadel, and by that means to hinder them from any plenty of provisions; and moreover, to make the fortresses that were in the country much stronger and more defensible than they were before. And when these things were approved of by the multitude, as rightly proposed, Jonathan himself took care of the building that belonged to the city, and sent Simon away to make the fortresses in the country more secure than formerly. ...
— The Antiquities of the Jews • Flavius Josephus

... fancy myself marrying again—if my husband, in the course of nature, had died still loving me, still faithful to me. So you see the cases are not identical. And that only remarriage after divorce is defensible." ...
— The Spread Eagle and Other Stories • Gouverneur Morris

... conquest of the Saxon aristocracy was complete, he held his Court at Windsor and summoned a synod there, and, though we do not know when the keep was completed, we can conjecture, from the rapidity with which all Norman work was done, that the walls were defensible even at that time. Of his building perhaps nothing remains. The forest to the south, with its opportunities for hunting, and the increasing importance of London (which was rapidly becoming the capital of England) made Windsor of greater value than ever in the eyes of his son. ...
— The Historic Thames • Hilaire Belloc

... organized nations tend to obtain just this character. They are fought for a defensible purpose, and they accomplish a definite result. The penalties of defeat are so disastrous that warfare is no longer wantonly incurred; and it will not be provoked at all by nations, such as Italy or France, who have less ...
— The Promise Of American Life • Herbert David Croly

... was a grim race to follow the markings to the old mines, and to get under cover behind defensible barricades in ...
— Master of the Moondog • Stanley Mullen

... Mary rose, and leaning on her daughter's arm, proceeded to explore her new abode. Like her apartment at the Lodge, it was at the top of the house, a fashion not uncommon when it was desirable to make the lower regions defensible; but, whereas she had always hitherto been placed in the castles of the highest nobility, she was now in that of a country knight of no great wealth or refinement, and, ...
— Unknown to History - A Story of the Captivity of Mary of Scotland • Charlotte M. Yonge

... remained in the hands of the British throughout the war. It was an important acquisition, because at its north-west extremity was a good and defensible anchorage, Gros Ilet Bay, only thirty miles from Fort Royal in Martinique. In it the British fleet could lie, when desirable to close-watch the enemy, yet not be worried for the safety of the port when away; for it was but ...
— The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence • A. T. Mahan

... afterwards to the bridge and the Abbot's mill beside it. Here were the oldest inns; and though all the house-fronts have been sadly modernised, either by the insertion of huge plateglass windows or in some less defensible manner, yet the eye still passes with pleasure from house to house, and the effect of the irregularity, heightened by the contrast of light and shade, is ...
— Evesham • Edmund H. New

... opinion, that Palmyra flourished at a period later than Petra.] Wady Mousa was gradually depopulated. Its river, however, and the intricate recesses of its rocky valleys, still attract and give security to a tribe of Arabs; but the place being defensible only by considerable numbers, and being situated in a less fertile country than Kerek, was less adapted to be the chief town of the Nabataei, when they had returned to their natural state of divided wanderers or small agricultural communities. The Greek bishopricks of the ...
— Travels in Syria and the Holy Land • John Burckhardt

... whole the least defensible of the concessions made in this matter concerned the African Slave Trade. That odious traffic was condemned by almost all Americans—even by those who were accustomed to domestic slavery, and could see little evil in it. Jefferson, in the original draft of the Declaration ...
— A History of the United States • Cecil Chesterton

... business of the powders, which so many have censured, is, I am relieved to say, not mine at all, but the Brownies'. Of another tale, in case the reader should have glanced at it, I may say a word: the not very defensible story of "Olalla." Here the court, the mother, the mother's niche, Olalla, Olalla's chamber, the meetings on the stair, the broken window, the ugly scene of the bite, were all given me in bulk and detail as I have tried to write them; to this I added only the external scenery (for in my dream ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 16 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... pain, as they show that there is no chance left of stopping war. Indeed she thinks, considering the progress of revolution in the Duchies, and the daily increase of military strength of France and financial exhaustion of Austria, that it would not be morally defensible to try to restrain Austria from defending herself ...
— The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861 • Queen of Great Britain Victoria

... Lincoln's views the high endorsement of assuming that they were the inevitable views that the Northern Commander, if he knew his business, would act upon. Therefore, he had been quietly preparing to withdraw his army to more defensible positions farther South. By a curious coincidence, his "strategic retreat" occurred immediately after McClellan had been given authority to do what he liked. On the ninth of March it was known at Washington ...
— Lincoln • Nathaniel Wright Stephenson

... opportunities of conversation invite us to try every mode of argument, and every art of recommending our sentiments, we are frequently betrayed to the use of such as are not in themselves strictly defensible: a man heated in talk, and eager of victory, takes advantage of the mistakes or ignorance of his adversary, lays hold of concessions to which he knows he has no right, and urges proofs likely to prevail on ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes - Volume IV: The Adventurer; The Idler • Samuel Johnson

... descendants could have been protected. Its abandonment, as I have shown, leaves this liberty and these rights frankly without any guaranteed protection. All the education which philanthropy or the State could offer as a substitute for equality of rights, would be a poor exchange; there is no defensible reason why they should not go hand in hand, each encouraging and strengthening the other. The education which one can demand as a right is likely to do more good than the education for which one must ...
— The Wife of his Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line, and - Selected Essays • Charles Waddell Chesnutt

... Sir John Johnson had escaped to Canada with many of his Highland retainers. But, as a rule, in this early period, the measures taken both by the revolutionary committees and by the army officers were easily defensible on ...
— The United Empire Loyalists - A Chronicle of the Great Migration - Volume 13 (of 32) in the series Chronicles of Canada • W. Stewart Wallace

... Palermo by Duquesne. But as the "nimbleness" of great-ships increased with the ripening of seamanship and naval architecture, the fireship as a battle weapon became almost negligible, while a fleet at anchor was found to be thoroughly defensible by its own picket-boats. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century indeed the occasions on which the fireship could be used for its special purpose was regarded as highly exceptional, and though the type was retained till the end of the century, its ...
— Some Principles of Maritime Strategy • Julian Stafford Corbett

... he has agreed to submit to and execute the will of his master, that submission and surrender of his will should be absolute, and without the least reserve or limitation. Perfect obedience is a beautiful fulfilment of duty, and defensible on the grounds of common-sense; for as no one can serve two masters—that is, in the performance of any particular duty—so no man can both obey his own inclination and submit himself to his master's will in the ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 458 - Volume 18, New Series, October 9, 1852 • Various

... the conception of the "universe" was defensible on scientific grounds: the diurnal revolution of the heavenly bodies bound them together as all parts of one system, of which the earth was the centre. Round this apparent scientific fact, many human desires rallied: the wish to believe Man important in the scheme of things, the ...
— Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays • Bertrand Russell

... on sure ground, at anchor, high and dry, above water; unthreatened^, unmolested; protected &c v.; cavendo tutus [Lat.]; panoplied &c (defended) 717 [Obs.]. snug, seaworthy; weatherproof, waterproof, fireproof. defensible, tenable, proof against, invulnerable; unassailable, unattackable, impenetrable; impregnable, imperdible^; inexpugnable; Achillean^. safe and sound &c (preserved) 670; scathless &c (perfect) 650; unhazarded^; not dangerous &c 665. unthreatening, harmless; friendly (cooperative) ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... manufacturer, sometimes by forcing upon him such a competition as shall cause his ruin; sometimes by means as illegal and criminal as are the riotous acts of a mob of hungry workmen, and far less defensible. But let us not yet bring up the question of relative blame. The main point which must impress every candid observer is that the means employed for the monopolies of capital and the monopolies of labor are identical in principle and motive. Nor are we confined to manufacturers' ...
— Monopolies and the People • Charles Whiting Baker

... down. In one short minute she lived a lifetime, and the decision was taken which determined her destiny. She resolved that she would not tread one single step in one particular direction, nor even look that way. She did not resolve to tell a lie, or, in fact, to do anything which was not strictly defensible and virtuous. She simply refused to reflect on the possibility of perjury on Jim's part. Refusing to reflect on it, she naturally had no proof of it; and, having no proof of it, she had no ground for believing that she was not perfectly ...
— Catharine Furze • Mark Rutherford

... very well indeed—at least the impulse was—whether the act was strictly defensible or not. Had deceased any religious convictions? That is to say, did he feel a dependence upon, or acknowledge ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... you take the command of the men, here, until I come back. I will go into the town and see Colonel Cox. I fear that the damage will be so great that the town will be really no longer defensible and, even if it were, the Portuguese troops will be so cowed that there will be no ...
— Under Wellington's Command - A Tale of the Peninsular War • G. A. Henty

... uncommon as they are uncouth. Murray, it seems, found none for his Exercises, but made up a couple to suit his purpose. The following might have answered as well for an other: "Monsieur D'acier observes, that Zeno's (the Founder of the Sect,) opinion was Fair and Defensible in ...
— The Grammar of English Grammars • Goold Brown

... put themselves under the protection of the great, and settled on their lands. They became thus colons (coloni). In the later times of disorder of which we are now speaking, farmhouses in the country gave place to fortified castles on hill-tops or other defensible sites, about which clustered in villages the dependents of the lord, who tilled his land, fought for him, and, in turn, ...
— Outline of Universal History • George Park Fisher

... profusion of silver buttons, chains, and bracelets, lay face upward, his resolute, handsome countenance still in the embrace of death. I told the men we would give him and his comrades a warrior's burial on the morrow, and returned to camp to make it defensible ...
— Captured by the Navajos • Charles A. Curtis

... whether this course is a legitimate or defensible one; but as long as crime exists, the necessity for detection is apparent. That a murderous criminal should go unwhipt of justice because the process of his detection is distasteful to the high moral sensibilities of those to whom crime is, perhaps, a stranger, ...
— Bucholz and the Detectives • Allan Pinkerton

... sea-board on the Euxine, and the strictly commercial character assigned to Batoum, have largely obviated the menace to the liberty of the Black Sea. The political outposts of Russian power have been pushed back to the region beyond the Balkans; the Sultan's dominions have been provided with a defensible frontier." It was in short the contention of the English Government that while Russia, in the pretended emancipation of a great part of European Turkey by the Treaty of San Stefano, had but acquired a new dependency, England, by insisting ...
— History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 • C. A. Fyffe

... themselves not always models of international virtue. They seized a French vessel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the charge—probably true—that she was carrying arms and ammunition to the Acadians and Indians. A less defensible act was the capture of the armed brig "St. Francois," laden with supplies for a fort lately re-established by the French, at the mouth of the River St. John, on ground claimed by both nations. Captain Rous, a New ...
— Montcalm and Wolfe • Francis Parkman

... and the present. Old St. Ives seems to derive entirely from the little headland known as The Island. It was just one of those places that the ancients loved to fortify, almost insular and easily defensible. The dry-stone defence known as the Two Edges was probably constructed by men of the Stone Age; it is certainly pre-Celtic. Other strongholds of the same date may be found at Gurnard's Head, at Trencrom, and at Bosigran, to name only a few. The Island may have been really insular ...
— The Cornwall Coast • Arthur L. Salmon

... 1st the Germans had not been idle. They had had time to profit from the lesson of the attack with additions and improvements. They had deepened dugouts and joined them by galleries; they had Box and Cox hiding-places; nests defensible from all sides which became known as Mystery Works and Wonder Works. The message of that gashed and spaded hillside was one ...
— My Second Year of the War • Frederick Palmer

... others, to produce a picture at once grand and picturesque; but it was a picture of which the eye soon wearied and the appreciation palled. There, as throughout the whole march to Niksich, the country abounds with the most magnificent defensible positions; natural parapets, whence a most destructive fire might be poured upon an advancing foe, and incapable of being turned by any flank movement; positions, in short, constructed for the enactment of a second Thermopylae. ...
— Herzegovina - Or, Omer Pacha and the Christian Rebels • George Arbuthnot

... 16th, in pursuance of Sir Bindon Blood's orders, Brigadier-General Jeffreys moved out of his entrenched camp at Inayat Kila, and entered the Mamund Valley. His intentions were, to chastise the tribesmen by burning and blowing up all defensible villages within reach of the troops. It was hoped, that this might be accomplished in a single day, and that the brigade, having asserted its strength, would be able to march on the 17th to Nawagai and take part in the attack on the Bedmanai Pass, which had been fixed for the ...
— The Story of the Malakand Field Force • Sir Winston S. Churchill

... mixed enough to justify some uneasiness, but this was allayed by the instinctive feeling that it is more venial to defraud an institution than a man. Since Mrs. Fontage had to be kept from starving by means not wholly defensible, it was better that the obligation should be borne by a rich institution than an impecunious youth. I doubt, in fact, if my scruples would have survived a night's sleep, had they not been complicated by some uncertainty as to ...
— Crucial Instances • Edith Wharton

... the mother-city, and paying to her an annual tribute. All these three cities were planted on the narrow strip of land dividing the Euxine from the elevated mountain range which so closely borders on its southern coast. At Sinope itself, the land stretches out into a defensible peninsula, with a secure harbor, and a large breadth of adjacent fertile soil. So tempting a site invited the Milesians,[75] even before the year 600 B.C., to plant a colony there, and enabled Sinope to attain much prosperity and power. ...
— The Two Great Retreats of History • George Grote

... cannot be mistaken in regard to it when we thus find the weak places made strong, and the strong places left as far as possible to their own natural defenses. The openings from the fort, also, lead out in every case to points easily made defensible and that command views ...
— See America First • Orville O. Hiestand

... this spiritual power which restrained the anarchy, internal and external, of the ferocious and imperfectly organised sovereignties that figure in the early history of modern Europe. And as a matter of theory, what could be more rational and defensible than such an intervention made systematic, with its rightfulness and disinterestedness universally recognised? Grant Christianity as the spiritual basis of the life and action of modern communities; supporting both the organised structure of each of them, and the interdependent ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 2 of 3) - Essay 4: Joseph de Maistre • John Morley

... illusion of life in the statue, whereas I think his object is merely to give warmth and softness to the snowy marble, and so bring it a little nearer to our hearts and sympathies. Even so far, nevertheless, I doubt whether the practice is defensible, and I was glad to see that Powers scorned, at all events, the argument drawn from the use of color by the antique sculptors, on which Gibson relies so much. It might almost be implied, from the contemptuous way in which Powers spoke of color, ...
— Passages From the French and Italian Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... dashing exterior. I should afterwards be sobered and enlightened by discovering that in America a nut does not mean a dandy but a defective or imbecile person. And as I have here to translate their American phrase into English, it may be very defensible that they should translate my English phrases into American. Anyhow they often do translate them into American. In answer to the usual question about Prohibition I had made the usual answer, obvious to the point of dullness to those who are in daily contact with it, that it is a law that the rich ...
— What I Saw in America • G. K. Chesterton

... both undefended and deserted. Landing with four of his men he next proceeded to the plantation, as it was called, where some ten or twelve substantial buildings surrounded with a stockade established a very defensible position, but here again neglect and suicidal folly ...
— Standish of Standish - A story of the Pilgrims • Jane G. Austin

... called upon to resent criticism by an appeal to battle without weapons. The killing of critics at the whim of the criticized is the evil against which protest is made. Plain assault and battery is easily defensible on the ground that no one can be expected always to have his temper in control. It makes writers careful, and it is not followed by the regret which follows killing. Writers are expected to keep within bounds in their criticisms, and even then they are certain to generate ill feeling in the ...
— Volume 12 of Brann The Iconoclast • William Cowper Brann

... nation the most glorious people of the world. For hath not the want of 8 of the 12 pieces of artillerie, which were promised vnto the Aduenture, lost her maiestie the possession of the Groine and many other places, as hereafter shall appeare, whose defensible rampires were greater then our batterie (such as it was) cold force: and ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of The English Nation, v. 7 - England's Naval Exploits Against Spain • Richard Hakluyt

... and Cilicians, put in for liberty! But they are made tributary without an army. What are the circumstances of the Thracians, whose country extends in breadth five days' journey, and in length seven, and is of a much more harsh constitution, and much more defensible, than yours, and by the rigor of its cold sufficient to keep off armies from attacking them? do not they submit to two thousand men of the Roman garrisons? Are not the Illyrlans, who inhabit the country adjoining, as far as Dalmatia and ...
— The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem • Flavius Josephus

... number of Southern Congressmen. A letter had been elicited from General Jackson, declaring with his usual vehemence in favor of the project, and urging it upon the ground that Texas was absolutely necessary to us, as the most easily defensible frontier against Great Britain. Using the favorite argument of the Southerners of his school, he said: "Great Britain has already made treaties with Texas; and we know that far-seeing nation never omits a circumstance in her extensive intercourse with the world which can ...
— Abraham Lincoln: A History V1 • John G. Nicolay and John Hay

... first blow must be settled, was at Fort Sumter, in the mid-throat of Charleston harbor. On December 27, 1860, by a skillful movement at night, Major Anderson, the commander at Fort Moultrie, had transferred his scanty force from that dilapidated and untenable post on the shore to the more defensible and more important position of Fort Sumter. Thereafter a precarious relationship betwixt peace and war had subsisted between him and the South Carolinians. It was distinctly understood that, sooner or later, by negotiation or by force, ...
— Abraham Lincoln, Vol. I. • John T. Morse

... According to a 'working man' who writes to the paper, Mr. Jenkins virtually proposes that the industrious part of the working classes are to support the children of the lazy, idle, and improvident—a principle which many people now seem inclined to regard as defensible. ...
— The Life of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Bart., K.C.S.I. - A Judge of the High Court of Justice • Sir Leslie Stephen

... from the frontiers of the Spanish settlements, and so little known to the Spaniards themselves, that, with proper precautions, there is reason to believe a ship might remain here a long time undiscovered. It is also capable of being made a very defensible port; as, by possessing the island that closes tip the port or inner harbour, which island is only accessible in a very few places, a small force might easily secure this port against all the force which the Spaniards could muster in that part of the world. For this island is so steep towards the ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 • Robert Kerr



Words linked to "Defensible" :   invulnerable, defensibility, defend



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