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 Don't let that all-encompassing historical monstrosity off the hook with a chilly, inoffensive lecture. Darren Franich,, "The Underground Railroad review: An ambitious American odyssey, compelling even when it's flawed," 4 May 2021 But the Salute leaned most heavily on older, more inoffensive performers singing the protest songs of their time. Larisha Paul, Billboard, "Leon Bridges and Andra Day Provided Highlights on ‘A Grammy Salute to the Sounds of Change’," 18 Mar. 2021 Folksy and inoffensive, Pompeo captured the audience with personal stories and tales from Trump’s Cabinet while claiming the mantle of heir apparent. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Mike Pompeo leans on Trump legacy to establish 2024 bona fides," 2 Mar. 2021 Inside, Honda's inoffensive design, easy-to-use 7.0-inch touchscreen, and highly adjustable center console should satisfy most shoppers in this class if not the nit-pickiest staffers on our masthead. Beth Nichols, Car and Driver, "A 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid Sidles in to Our Long-Term Fleet," 26 Feb. 2021 Farmington is following a statewide trend away from ethnic team names such as Indians, with towns concluding that what seemed inoffensive in the ‘40s or ‘70s has taken on a different tone now. Don Stacom,, "Farmington jettisons high school’s ‘Indian’ mascot," 8 Dec. 2020 In Hong Kong, the inoffensive-looking, gray-haired flag-flying Wong became a fixture of the city's pro-democracy movement, first at its initial Occupy Central movement in late 2011. Rebecca Wright, Nectar Gan And Jenni Marsh, CNN, "Grandma Wong was a key figure in Hong Kong's protest movement -- until she disappeared," 31 Oct. 2020 The hearing was marked by intense exchanges between lawmakers expressing their frustration and executives trying to be as inoffensive as possible. Fortune, "4 key moments from the Senate’s showdown with Big Tech CEOs," 28 Oct. 2020 All this, remember, wrought by what were once inoffensive forest insects. Joshua Sokol, The Atlantic, "The Worst Animal in the World," 20 Aug. 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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Statistics for inoffensive

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inoffensive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on inoffensive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inoffensive

Nglish: Translation of inoffensive for Spanish Speakers

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