offend

verb
of·​fend | \ ə-ˈfend How to pronounce offend (audio) \
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.

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 She is also rehearsed and smart, a marketing machine who has been programmed to frame her choice as an opportunity to inspire winter sports passion in China while saying nothing that would offend the Chinese Communist Party. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 9 Feb. 2022 The game’s narrative director, John Gonzales, said the studio didn’t mean to offend, and that the art was inspired by cultures from all over the world. Washington Post, 17 Apr. 2020 To keep it simple: Make sure everyone can pronounce the new name, that it has been vetted to be free of legal trademark and doesn’t offend anyone. Jason Rose, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 Abraham Thombiano, a Black graduate, said the word Dixie doesn’t offend him. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Nov. 2021 But if a character was different, their existence had to be justified so as not to offend the stereotype of a certain kind of gamer. Will Bedingfield, Wired, 25 Feb. 2022 Women who compete in pageants are supposed to have a middle-of-the-road opinion — if any — so as not to offend. Essence, 31 Jan. 2022 The texts revealed how the conservative Fox News hosts are careful not to offend Trump’s base — which makes up a large part of their audience — even when they are personally disturbed by the former president’s actions. Stephen Battaglio Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2021 Both the allusion and the explanation are unusually explicit for a spokesman who is typically careful not to offend. New York Times, 30 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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 of-, assimilated variant of ob- ob- + -fendere presumably, "to strike, hit" (unattested without prefixes) — more at defend

Learn More About offend

Time Traveler for offend

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near offend

Offenbach

offend

offendedly

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for offend

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Offend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offend. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for offend

offend

verb
of·​fend | \ ə-ˈfend How to pronounce offend (audio) \
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?

offend

intransitive verb
of·​fend | \ ə-ˈfend How to pronounce offend (audio) \

Legal Definition of offend

: to commit an offense

Other Words from offend

offender noun

More from Merriam-Webster on offend

Nglish: Translation of offend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of offend for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!