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

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 This is a far cry from the situation in the late 20th century, when Italian white wines were dismissed as inoffensive, innocuous or worse. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "From Campania’s Volcanic Soils, Whites in Multiple Colors," 31 May 2018 The dealership was brick and glass, a version of traditional modern that implied the late nineties of Andrew’s graduate-school years: inclusive and hopeful and almost glaringly inoffensive. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Fungus," 4 June 2017 Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. Maria Pasquini,, "Priyanka Chopra Calls Controversial Simpsons Character Apu 'the Bane of My Life Growing Up'," 3 May 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

6 Jun 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

What made you want to look up inoffensive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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