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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Naipaul's nonfiction often provoked much anger, and many were offended by his views about Islam and India — Rushdie, for example, thought Naipaul was promoting Hindu nationalism. Sylvia Hui, Fox News, "Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul dies at 85," 11 Aug. 2018 Billeaudeaux points to a 2016 Washington Post poll that showed nine out of 10 Native Americans are not offended by the Washington Redskins name. Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com, "Tribute or racial slur: Is it time for schools to give up Native American mascots?," 11 June 2018 After drawing a laugh at the mention of the Texas senator, Bee said that many men also were offended by her language. NBC News, "Samantha Bee returns to 'Full Frontal' after Ivanka Trump insult," 7 June 2018 Hernandez said that's likely because the court historically has been so offended by these types of crimes. Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive.com, "Judge reduces supervised release for Florida man who bribed former Portland parking manager," 23 May 2018 So what exactly do my offending vintage fur coats say about me? Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Am I the Only One Who Feels Guilty About Wearing Vintage Fur?," 15 Jan. 2019 The Ars front page will return to normal in a few days; if this silliness doth offend, think of that, and all shall mend. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Ars Christmas downtime special: four movies retold as medieval tales," 26 Dec. 2018 Several opponents said they were offended by the realty company’s decision to call the outdoor seating area a piazza and flatly rejected its proposal to build an Italian heritage monument. Emily Williams, BostonGlobe.com, "Starbucks takes shots over plan to open in the North End," 29 June 2018 The employee said she was offended by Bisson’s comments and complained to a superior, which spurred the investigation against Cooper. Bianca Padró Ocasio, OrlandoSentinel.com, "St. Cloud councilman who 'goosed' staffer acted inappropriately, investigation finds," 10 May 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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near offend

offcut

offen

Offenbach

offend

offendedly

offend the eye

offense

Statistics for offend

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for offend

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

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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)
formal : 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

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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

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