offend

verb
of·​fend | \ə-ˈfend \
offended; offending; offends

Definition of offend 

intransitive verb

1a : to transgress (see transgress sense transitive 1) the moral or divine law : sin if it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul alive— William Shakespeare

b : to violate a law or rule : do wrong offend against the law

2a : to cause difficulty, discomfort, or injury took off his shoe and removed the offending pebble

b : to cause dislike, anger, or vexation thoughtless words that offend needlessly

transitive verb

1a : violate, transgress a contract not offending a statute … might still be in restraint of trade— C. A. Cooke

b : to cause pain to : hurt tasteless billboards that offend the eye

2 obsolete : to cause to sin or fall

3 : to cause (a person or group) to feel hurt, angry, or upset by something said or done was offended by their language She carefully worded her comments so as not to offend anyone.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from offend

offender noun

Choose the Right Synonym for offend

offend, outrage, affront, insult mean to cause hurt feelings or deep resentment. offend need not imply an intentional hurting but it may indicate merely a violation of the victim's sense of what is proper or fitting. hoped that my remarks had not offended her outrage implies offending beyond endurance and calling forth extreme feelings. outraged by their accusations affront implies treating with deliberate rudeness or contemptuous indifference to courtesy. deeply affronted by his callousness insult suggests deliberately causing humiliation, hurt pride, or shame. insulted every guest at the party

Examples of offend in a Sentence

His comments about minority groups offended many of us. She had carefully worded her comments so as not to offend anyone. It offends me that you would make such a remark. Don't worry. I wasn't offended. I felt a little offended by their lack of respect. Some people are offended by the song's lyrics. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

According to one study, between 2015 and 2017, more professors were fired for left-wing political speech that offended someone than speech with a right-wing valence. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Milo Yiannopoulos’s collapse shows that no-platforming can work," 5 Dec. 2018 And naturally, the offending HP spec sheet, governing its Pavilion x360 convertible, has been removed. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel's Whiskey Lake notebook chips will offer big turbo boosts to get you to upgrade," 10 Aug. 2018 Lovato finally ended up apologizing to anyone who was offended by the prank. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, "Demi Lovato Pranked Her Bodyguard In Vegas and Twitter Is Not Having It," 3 June 2018 Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Britain, has offended, outraged and antagonized Britons on numerous occasions since being elected. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, "From effigies to egging: The British have a long history of dissing U.S. presidents," 11 July 2018 Morton has apologized for offending anyone and defended her participation in the show. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Mental Health Experts Want You to Know Before Watching the Buzzy New YouTube Series ‘The Mind of Jake Paul’," 12 Oct. 2018 Clearly the Duke of Sussex isn't offended by the show's less-than-kind portrayal of his ancestor King George III. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Just Arrived at Hamilton in a Sleek Black Mini Dress," 29 Aug. 2018 The creamed corn and coleslaw were representations of the classics that didn’t offend, but a little too soupy for my tastes. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, "52 Weeks of BBQ: Orly’s BBQ," 6 July 2018 The uproar was part of an ongoing culture war between the left and the right over recent incidents in the media that have offended and angered both sides. Lorraine Ali, latimes.com, "Samantha Bee apologizes and lashes back at her critics on 'Full Frontal' over Ivanka Trump controversy," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'offend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of offend

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for offend

Middle English offenden "to assail, violate, displease, hurt the feelings of," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French offendre, borrowed from Latin offendere "to strike against, stumble (upon), trouble, break a rule, displease, annoy," from ob- ob- + -fendere presumably, "to strike, hit" (unattested without prefixes) — more at defend

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about offend

Dictionary Entries near offend

offcut

offen

Offenbach

offend

offendedly

offend the eye

offense

Statistics for offend

Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for offend

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for offend

offend

verb

English Language Learners Definition of offend

: to cause (a person or group) to feel hurt, angry, or upset by something said or done

: to be unpleasant to (someone or something)

: to do wrong : to be against what people believe is acceptable or proper

offend

verb
of·​fend | \ə-ˈfend \
offended; offending

Kids Definition of offend

1 : to hurt the feelings of or insult She uses language that offends people.

2 : to do wrong Is the released prisoner likely to offend again?

of·​fend | \ə-ˈfend \

Legal Definition of offend 

: to commit an offense

Other Words from offend

offender noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on offend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with offend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for offend

Spanish Central: Translation of offend

Nglish: Translation of offend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of offend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on offend

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!