Another word for defend
To keep off an enemy; often used figuratively
protect, shield, guard, shelter, screen, resist, beat off, avert, fight for, withstand, cover, retain, hold, repel danger from, ward off, contend for, keep off, stave off, keep at bay, hold at bay, take evasive action, fend off, hedge, entrench, mine, resist invasion, stand on the defensive, provide air cover for; sustain a mortar attack, aerial attack, machine gun attack, etc.; fortify, garrison, convoy, escort, fence round, give an air umbrella; see also sense 2; guard 2.
To provide general protection
safeguard, secure, maintain, uphold, preserve, espouse, champion, insure, patronize, watch, sustain, apologize for, rally to, support, house, keep, second, provide sanctuary, take in, sustain, bolster, nourish, foster, care for, compass about, cherish, guard against, look after; see also sense 1; raise 2, support 5.
To support an accused person or thing
plead, justify, bear one out, uphold, support, second, exonerate, back, back up, vindicate, advocate, aid, espouse the cause of, befriend, say in defense, be a partisan of, guarantee, endorse, warrant, prove a case, exculpate, maintain, recommend, rationalize, plead one's cause, say a good word for, argue for, speak for, stand up for, plead for, put in a good word for, apologize for, take up, go to bat for*, cover up for*, stick up for*; see also support 2.