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.

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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

Talk to your wife about it and figure out ways to wade in slowly, ideally ones that will be subtle enough not to offend your hosts, who are, like the rest of us, just trying to figure things out. Carolyn Hax, The Seattle Times, "Dealing with a friend’s death and her spouse’s new relationship," 26 Mar. 2019 Bossie wasn’t the only former Trump campaign official to offend viewers while discussing the situation at the border on Fox News. Rob Tornoe, Philly.com, "Fox News reportedly suspends ex-Trump campaign aide David Bossie for 'cotton-picking' remark," 25 June 2018 In-person visits, experts say, are crucial to maintaining support networks for inmates who will need to rely on them when re-entering society in order not to re-offend and end up back in prison. Ben Conarck, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Florida prisons add for-profit services, consider visitation cuts," 10 June 2018 Freedom of expression includes the freedom to offend. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "The cultural appropriation debate has changed. But is it for the better?," 18 Dec. 2018 The trip was delayed multiple times and downgraded to a working visit as Trump continued to offend the British over the past 18 months. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Everything You Need to Know About Trump’s Controversial U.K. Visit," 12 July 2018 Now All Cost Less Than $200 Every joke is going to offend somebody, right? Anna Peele, GQ, "Michelle Wolf Is Ready to Roast Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner," 27 Apr. 2018 In the offending tweets, Ms. Murphy wrote that transgender women are the same as men, as part of her argument that gender is determined at birth. Georgia Wells, WSJ, "Writer Sues Twitter Over Ban for Criticizing Transgender People," 11 Feb. 2019 Wrap it in a thin cloth and set it on the offending spot for three to four minutes. Leah Prinzivalli, Glamour, "How to Get Rid of a Pimple Fast: 12 Dos & Don'ts of Fighting Acne," 17 Jan. 2019

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

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

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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