in·​of·​fen·​sive | \ ˌin-ə-ˈfen(t)-siv How to pronounce inoffensive (audio) \

Definition of inoffensive

1 : causing no harm or injury
2a : giving no provocation : peaceable
b : not objectionable to the senses

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Other Words from inoffensive

inoffensively adverb
inoffensiveness noun

Examples of inoffensive in a Sentence

The priest was a mild-mannered inoffensive fellow. an inoffensive little joke at the opening of his speech
Recent Examples on the Web Under normal circumstances, dating apps tend to bring out most people’s blandest, most inoffensive selves. Jenny Singer, Glamour, "I Went on a Virtual Date Every Night for a Week," 1 May 2020 The way to achieve peace, on this all-American holiday, would have been to serve up a robustly inoffensive all-American meal that everyone could quietly pretend to like. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Abe Fails to Transcend Multiculturalist Pieties," 17 Apr. 2020 At any other time, these would be inoffensive, everyday sights. Michael Cabanatuan,, "Coronavirus: Few tickets, no arrests for Bay Area shelter-in-place violations — for now," 10 Apr. 2020 While typically inoffensive when taken on their own terms, such movies premiering en masse speak to the exclusion of diverse voices from the independent film circuit. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Sundance 2020 Will Host One of the Film Festival’s Most Diverse Lineups Yet," 5 Dec. 2019 For undemanding youngsters searching for a bridge into high fantasy, The Letter for the King is certainly inoffensive and occasionally solid, polished fun. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to stream (and skip) on Netflix and Amazon Prime this weekend," 20 Mar. 2020 There are inoffensive kinds both inside and outside the human body, but name brand recognition of E. coli is as a pathogen. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Engineers Literally Make Electricity Out of Thin Air," 18 Feb. 2020 Detractors consider her music toothless or generic, part of a growing trend of inoffensive music in the streaming era. Neil Shah, WSJ, "The Billie Eilish Revolution: How the Unconventional Teen Swept the Grammys," 28 Jan. 2020 Usually, this hunt leads you to the nearest convenience store for the most inoffensive last-minute gift from the impulse aisle. Talia Abbas, Glamour, "49 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Him," 31 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inoffensive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of inoffensive

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for inoffensive

Time Traveler

The first known use of inoffensive was in 1646

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Cite this Entry

“Inoffensive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for inoffensive


How to pronounce inoffensive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inoffensive

: not likely to offend or bother anyone : not offensive


in·​of·​fen·​sive | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfen-siv How to pronounce inoffensive (audio) \

Kids Definition of inoffensive

: not likely to offend or bother anyone an inoffensive joke

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More from Merriam-Webster on inoffensive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inoffensive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inoffensive

Spanish Central: Translation of inoffensive

Nglish: Translation of inoffensive for Spanish Speakers

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