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[Anglo-French defait, past participle of defaire to undo, defeat, from Old French deffaire desfaire, from de-, prefix marking reversal of action + faire to do]
1 a : to render null [third parties will an attached but “unperfected” security interest "J. J. White and R. S. Summers"]
b : to prevent or undo the effectiveness or establishment of [ jurisdiction] [defendant took stand and ed intoxication defense "National Law Journal"]
2 a : to prevail over
b : to thwart the claim of [ creditors] [an intent to the surviving spouse of his…elective share "Tennessee Code Annotated"]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.