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 offenseless (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In fact, however, the idea behind the federal law was to capture as many offenses as possible, not to exclude crimes that don’t meet a word-for-word definition. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The latest US Supreme Court rulings are blowing up pundits’ predictions," 15 June 2019 Division 3 Millington's offense came to play in the Division 3 championship game. Wright Wilson, Detroit Free Press, "Warren Regina wins seventh softball title in extra innings over Howell," 15 June 2019 While Cloud spoke for the team, Thibault carried out his postgame news conference as usual, highlighting a dismal offense that doomed the Mystics (4-3) late in the game. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Babe Ruth jersey breaks world record, selling for $5.6 million in auction," 15 June 2019 Weaknesses: Despite producing a 1,000-yard rusher for the third straight campaign, Colorado saw its rushing offense toil throughout much of last season. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "College Football Rankings: No. 73 Colorado hopes changes at top lead to more wins," 15 June 2019 Police recorded a total of 40,577 offenses involving a knife or sharp instrument across the country in 2018, 10,000 more than in 2010-11. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Two teenagers die minutes apart during violent night in London," 15 June 2019 His immense athletic ability and basketball instincts are conducive to easy baskets, transition offense and momentum-swinging plays on both ends. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2019 NBA Draft: Ranking Best Bigs Available," 14 June 2019 Louisville’s offense could potentially benefit from playing at TD Ameritrade Park. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville baseball succeeding despite lack of 'sexy' home run power," 14 June 2019 Failure to comply with such a notice, made under section 2 of the U.K.’s Criminal Justice Act 1987, is a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine, the SFO said. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, "SFO Charges Daughter of Former ENRC Director for Failing to Comply With Probe," 14 June 2019

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

Statistics for offense

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for offense

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

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More Definitions for offense

offense

noun

English Language Learners Definition of offense

: something that causes a person to be hurt, angry, or upset
: something that is wrong or improper
: a criminal act

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 offence (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.

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Comments on offense

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