In court, the person who gets sued or accused is called a defendant — they have to defend their innocence or reputation.

One thing no one wants to be is a defendant: that means someone sued you, which could cost you a boatload of money. Other defendants are accused of crimes, which is even worse, because you could end up in jail. Turn on any TV show about lawyers, and you'll see some of them defending the defendant, and others trying to convict the defendant. Defendants are definitely on the defensive.

Definitions of defendant

n a person or institution against whom an action is brought in a court of law; the person being sued or accused

complainant, plaintiff
a person who brings an action in a court of law
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a defendant in a criminal proceeding
co-defendant, codefendant
a defendant who has been joined together with one or more other defendants in a single action
co-respondent, corespondent
the codefendant charged with adultery with the estranged spouse in a divorce proceeding
the codefendant (especially in a divorce proceeding) who is accused of adultery with the corespondent
Type of:
litigant, litigator
(law) a party to a lawsuit; someone involved in litigation

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