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 Some villagers stayed away from the demonstration for fear of offending the mayor. New York Times, "French Baguettes From a Vending Machine? ‘What a Tragedy.’," 10 Nov. 2019 There have been a few bumps in the road, like Roosevelt Franklin, an early puppet whose stereotypical African American dialect offended many. Mark Kennedy, Twin Cities, "‘Goodness and humor’ celebrated as ‘Sesame Street’ turns 50," 5 Nov. 2019 There have been a few bumps in the road, like Roosevelt Franklin, an early puppet whose stereotypical African American dialect offended many. Mark Kennedy, The Denver Post, "“Goodness and humor” celebrated as Sesame Street turns 50," 5 Nov. 2019 Women accused of witchcraft were also sent there, along with innocent individuals who defied or offended the Puritan leadership. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities in America That You Should Visit," 25 Oct. 2019 With China’s government and social media so often aligned on a nationalist worldview, companies from everywhere in the world are being pressured to self-censor and avoid offending China’s sensibilities. Nikhil Sonnad, Quartz, "Watch: Our call on Chinese censorship," 19 Oct. 2019 The judges who ruled Friday saw the law differently, and at least one of them was noticeably offended. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "2 judges squash Trump attempt to deny legal status to immigrants using public benefits," 11 Oct. 2019 Either could risk offending the employer more than simply passing on a job. Kathleen Corlett, Woman's Day, "How to Reject a Job Offer Without Closing the Door Completely," 3 Oct. 2019 Other broadcasters and news organizations have had to relax their standards or find creative means of quotation to avoid offending their audiences. Author: Mark Z. Barabak, Anchorage Daily News, "What the #%&@?! Trump and 2020 Democrats are cursing a blue streak," 24 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for offend

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for offend

Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Offend.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offends. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for offend

offend

verb
How to pronounce offend (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for offend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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