offense

noun
of·​fense | \ ə-ˈfen(t)s How to pronounce offense (audio) , especially for sense 3 ˈä-ˌfen(t)s, ˈȯ- How to pronounce offense (audio) \
variants: or offence

Definition of offense

1 : something that outrages the moral or physical senses His conduct is an offense to public decency. Such screaming is an offense to my ears.
2a : the act of displeasing or affronting no offense intended and none taken, I hope
b : the state of being insulted or morally outraged takes offense at the slightest criticism we ought not … to give offense by sexist words or phrases— J. J. Kilpatrick
3a : the offensive team or members of a team playing offensive positions The stronger offense won the game.
b : the means or method of attacking or of attempting to score The quarterback's passing success was the team's edge in offense.
c : scoring ability
d : the act of attacking : assault weapons of offense
4a : an infraction of law was stopped by the police for a traffic offense especially : misdemeanor had a record of petty offenses
b : a breach of a moral or social code : sin, misdeed was tolerant of his youthful offenses
5a archaic : a cause or occasion of sin : stumbling block
b obsolete : an act of stumbling

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Other Words from offense

offenseless \ ə-​ˈfen(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce offense (audio) , especially for sense 3  ˈä-​ˌfen(t)s-​ , ˈȯ-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for offense

offense, resentment, umbrage, pique, dudgeon, huff mean an emotional response to or an emotional state resulting from a slight or indignity. offense implies hurt displeasure. takes deep offense at racial slurs resentment suggests lasting indignation or ill will. harbored a lifelong resentment of his brother umbrage may suggest hurt pride, resentment, or suspicion of another's motives. took umbrage at the offer of advice pique applies to a transient feeling of wounded vanity. in a pique I foolishly declined the invitation dudgeon suggests an angry fit of indignation. stormed out of the meeting in high dudgeon huff implies a peevish short-lived spell of anger usually at a petty cause. in a huff he slammed the door

offense, sin, vice, crime, scandal mean a transgression of law. offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code. at that school no offense went unpunished sin implies an offense against moral or religious law. the sin of blasphemy vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts. regarded gambling as a vice crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state. the crime of murder scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience. a career ruined by a sex scandal

Examples of offense in a Sentence

He was found guilty and fined $250 for each offense. Penalties for a first offense range from fines to jail time. Our team has the best offense in the league. The quarterback directs the offense. The team needs some work on its offense. The team plays good offense. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Graduate student Carley Adams has been with the program since the beginning of 2018 and has evolved into a major contributor on offense. Jenna Ortiz, The Arizona Republic, 4 May 2022 But after landing the versatile Parrish, who provides a 3-point threat on offense and can guard four positions on defense, the Aztecs are no longer believed to be involved with them. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 May 2022 The focus will again be on the offense as D.J. Uiagalelei enters his second year as the starting quarterback. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 4 May 2022 On offense, Boston averaged 113.5 points per game against Brooklyn with Jaylen Brown leading the way by averaging a postseason career-high 23.1 points. Andrew Wagner, Forbes, 1 May 2022 My theory is that the Jazz, as individual players, were pretty darn scheme-able on offense. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Apr. 2022 In other words, Bell should challenge for a significant role on offense, and could potentially be Landry’s replacement in the slot. Scott Patsko, cleveland, 29 Apr. 2022 The trend in the NFL is that quarterback, wide receiver and tight end matter most on offense while pass rushers, corners and safeties matter most on defense. Jason Hoffman, The Enquirer, 29 Apr. 2022 In addition to his work on defense, Flott had 28 receptions for 502 yards and one touchdown and 12 rushing attempts for 180 yards and two touchdowns on offense as the Spartans reached the AHSAA Class 6A championship game. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'offense.' 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 offense

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5b

History and Etymology for offense

Middle English offence, offense "assault, breach of law, causing of displeasure," borrowed from Anglo-French offense, borrowed from Latin offensa "encounter with an obstacle, injury, wrong," noun derivative from feminine of offensus, past participle of offendere "to strike against, break a rule, displease" — more at offend

Note: The English senses "act of stumbling, stumbling block" are dependent on the Biblical passage "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" (Isaiah 8:14, 1 Peter 2:8 in the Authorized/King James Version), itself dependent on the literal sense "stumble upon" of Latin offendere and its derivatives (cf. Vulgate "lapis offensionis et petra scandali").

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Learn More About offense

Time Traveler for offense

Time Traveler

The first known use of offense was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near offense

offend the eye

offense

offensible

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Statistics for offense

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Offense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offense. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for offense

offense

noun
of·​fense
variants: or offence \ ə-​ˈfens \

Kids Definition of offense

1 : something done that hurts feelings or insults
3 : the act of hurting feelings or insulting
4 : a team or the part of a team that attempts to score in a game
5 : an act of attacking : assault

offense

noun
of·​fense
variants: or offence \ ə-​ˈfens How to pronounce offense (audio) \

Legal Definition of offense

1 : a violation of the law especially : a criminal act nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy U.S. Constitution amend. V — see also lesser included offense
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : an intentional unlawful act that causes damage to another and for which the law imposes an obligation for damages — compare quasi contract at contract, quasi-offense

Note: Breach of contract, offenses, quasi-offenses, and quasi contracts are the bases for civil liability under Louisiana civil law. Offenses and quasi-offenses are comparable to common-law torts.

More from Merriam-Webster on offense

Nglish: Translation of offense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of offense for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about offense

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