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

However, a new study has found that these inoffensive one liners seem to become funnier with the addition of one simple ingredient: a laugh track. Sabine Galvis, Science | AAAS, "Laugh tracks boost humor ratings of corny ‘dad jokes’," 22 July 2019 Director Dylan Thomas Ellis has made a gentle, inoffensive film that preaches as much about the power of prayer as the dangers of texting and driving. Kimber Myers,, "Review: Golf and prayer team up in bland drama ‘Round of Your Life’," 20 June 2019 Emma Thompson stars as that host, a comic who has been telling inoffensive, middle-of-the-road jokes for nearly 30 years — but now has to decide whether to get political. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, "That scene about political jokes in ‘Late Night’ is probably way too real for actual late-night TV hosts," 17 June 2019 Now, longtime users are criticizing the company’s auto-detecting algorithms, which appear to be incorrectly flagging some inoffensive images as explicit. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Tumblr is already flagging innocent posts as porn," 3 Dec. 2018 For most people, though, the QuietComfort 35 headphones should at least sound pleasant and inoffensive. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Technica Father’s Day gift guide," 13 June 2018 There’s that bland, forgettable, inoffensive title. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Can Netflix’s Set It Up Help Revive the Romantic Comedy?," 21 June 2018 In the most shrug-inducing, inoffensive match of the World Cup, it’s Sweden versus Switzerland. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The World Cup’s Most Neutral Matchup," 2 July 2018 Honestly, most were perfectly inoffensive, the sort of offerings that might scratch an itch in the right setting. Nick Kindelsperger,, "New kind of veggie burger threatens old-school variety for title of Chicago's best," 22 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for inoffensive

Last Updated

1 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inoffensive

The first known use of inoffensive was in 1646

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More Definitions for inoffensive



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inoffensive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inoffensive

Spanish Central: Translation of inoffensive

Nglish: Translation of inoffensive for Spanish Speakers

Comments on inoffensive

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