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This word is used in some old English statutes in the sense it has in French, namely, to forbid. In a 1527 work we find examples of the use of the word in this sense, 'He defended,' (forbade) 'to pay the wage,' (tribute,) 'for he said he was a king.' 'She wrote the obligation when she put her hand to the tree against the defence.' (prohibition of God.)

In pleading, to defend is to deny and the effect of the word 'defends' is that the defendant denies the right of the plaintiff, or the force and wrong charged.

In contracts, to defend is to guaranty; to agree to indemnify. In most conveyances of land the grantor covenants to warrant and defend. It is his duty then, to prevent all persons against whom he defends, from doing any act which would evict him; when there is a mortgage upon the land, the mortgagee demands possession or payment of the covenantee and threatens suit, this is a breach of the covenant to defend, and for quiet enjoyment.