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A defense (occasionally mispelt by the English as "defence") is a fact or circumstance that negates liability for an otherwise criminal or tortuous act. There several forms of defenses:

True or internal defenses

"No, I didn't do that"

work by negating an element of the offense. For example, an element of theft is that the property in question be the "tangible personal property of another". Offering evidence that the property in question was intangible, real estate, or the defendant's own property are all true defenses. Truth is a true defense to defamation because falsity is an element of the tort. True defenses need not be raised by the defendant because it is already the plaintiff's responsibility to prove the elements of the offense.
Affirmative defenses

"Yes, but-"

are defenses raised by the defendant which seek to excuse otherwise liable conduct. Examples include things like self defense, necessity, and incapacity. Fair use is an affirmative defense to a claim of copyright infringement. Unlike true defenses, the defendant will generally have the Burden of Proof with respect to affirmative defenses.
Sitting on defenses


work by convincing the judge or jury that both sides might be sort-of right so the case cannot be called in either party's favor.
Waiting For Godot defenses
occur when everyone stares at each other for several hours, does absolutely fuck all but drinking 17 cups of coffee, and goes home disappointed, unfulfilled and 40 bucks lighter.
Tower defenses
occur when one can't effectively play an RTS.
Warcraft defense
occur when someone can't effectively take damage in Warcraft due to constant need to jerk 'n' squirt to the dancing Night Elf played by a douchebag kid.
The Only 100% Foolproof defense
I did it for the lulz.