Etymology
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fend (v.)

c. 1300, "defend, guard; protect; put up a fight; excuse or justify; forbid, bar," shortening of defend. From mid-14c. as "make a defense" and (usually with off (adv.)) "ward off, beat off, keep at a distance." Developed a meaning "make provision, give care" in Scottish English (16c.); hence to fend for oneself (1620s) "see to one's own defense." Related: Fended; fending.

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Definitions of fend

fend (v.)
try to manage without help;
The youngsters had to fend for themselves after their parents died
fend (v.)
withstand the force of something;
The mountain climbers had to fend against the ice and snow
Synonyms: resist / stand
From wordnet.princeton.edu