offend

verb of·fend \ ə-ˈfend \
Updated on: 20 May 2018

Definition of offend

1 a : to transgress (see transgress 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
2 a : 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
1 a : 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.

offender

noun

Examples of offend in a Sentence

  1. His comments about minority groups offended many of us.

  2. She had carefully worded her comments so as not to offend anyone.

  3. It offends me that you would make such a remark.

  4. Don't worry. I wasn't offended.

  5. I felt a little offended by their lack of respect.

  6. Some people are offended by the song's lyrics.

  7. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you.

  8. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend.

Recent Examples of offend from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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


OFFEND Defined for English Language Learners

offend

Definition of offend for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

offend

verb of·fend \ ə-ˈfend \

Definition of offend for Students

offended; offending
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?

Law Dictionary

offend

intransitive verb of·fend \ ə-ˈfend \

legal Definition of offend

: to commit an offense

offender

noun


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