Definition of offense
1a obsolete : an act of stumblingb archaic : a cause or occasion of sin : stumbling block
2 : something that outrages the moral or physical senses His conduct is an offense to public decency. Such screaming is an offense to my ears.
3a : the act of attacking : assault weapons of offenseb : the means or method of attacking or of attempting to score The quarterback's passing success was the team's edge in offense.c : the offensive team or members of a team playing offensive positions The stronger offense won the game.d : scoring ability
4a : the act of displeasing or affronting no offense intended and none taken, I hopeb : the state of being insulted or morally outraged takes offense at the slightest criticism we ought not … to give offense by sexist words or phrases — J. J. Kilpatrick
5a : a breach of a moral or social code : sin, misdeed was tolerant of his youthful offensesb : an infraction of law was stopped by the police for a traffic offense; especially : misdemeanor had a record of petty offenses
offenselessplay \ə-ˈfen(t)s-ləs, especially for sense 3 ˈä-ˌfen(t)s-, ˈȯ-\ adjective
Examples of offense in a Sentence
He was found guilty and fined $250 for each offense.
Penalties for a first offense range from fines to jail time.
Our team has the best offense in the league.
The quarterback directs the offense.
The team needs some work on its offense.
The team plays good offense.
Recent Examples of offense from the Web
UConn has been ranked 108th or worse in total offense every season since 2011.
So there is ample evidence the fullback remains valued in some offenses around the league.
Some in Montgomery suggest the number of school offenses is higher than the numbers reflect.
Originally, there were only less than a dozen offenses that could get one deported.
Of those arrested, 20 did time in a B.C. prison for the offense.
The Hawks offense exploded with 12 hits, including four home runs, as Boise crushed Vancouver 13-1 on Monday night in Northwest League action at Memorial Stadium.
At least four athletes whose biological passports were listed as suspicious have received doping bans for offenses unrelated to the passport data.
Some were accused of minor offenses: communication with ISIS online, training with ISIS, having been forced to work with ISIS.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'offense.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of offense
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin offensa, from feminine of offensus, past participle of offendere
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of offense
offense, sin, vice, crime, scandal mean a transgression of law. offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code. at that school no offense went unpunished sin implies an offense against moral or religious law. the sin of blasphemy vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts. regarded gambling as a vice crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state. the crime of murder scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience. a career ruined by a sex scandal
OFFENSE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of offense for English Language Learners
: something that causes a person to be hurt, angry, or upset
: something that is wrong or improper
: a criminal act
OFFENSE Defined for Kids
Definition of offense for Students
Legal Definition of offense
1 : a violation of the law; especially : a criminal act nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy — U.S. Constitution amend. V — see also lesser included offense
Additional Notes on offense
Breach of contract, offenses, quasi-offenses, and quasi contracts are the bases for civil liability under Louisiana civil law. Offenses and quasi-offenses are comparable to common-law torts.
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