offense

noun
of·​fense | \ ə-ˈfen(t)s How to pronounce offense (audio) , especially for sense 3 ˈä-ˌfen(t)s, ˈȯ- How to pronounce offense (audio) \
variants: or offence

Definition of offense

1 : something that outrages the moral or physical senses His conduct is an offense to public decency. Such screaming is an offense to my ears.
2a : the act of displeasing or affronting no offense intended and none taken, I hope
b : 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
3a : the offensive team or members of a team playing offensive positions The stronger offense won the game.
b : the means or method of attacking or of attempting to score The quarterback's passing success was the team's edge in offense.
c : scoring ability
d : the act of attacking : assault weapons of offense
4a : an infraction of law was stopped by the police for a traffic offense especially : misdemeanor had a record of petty offenses
b : a breach of a moral or social code : sin, misdeed was tolerant of his youthful offenses
5a archaic : a cause or occasion of sin : stumbling block
b obsolete : an act of stumbling

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Other Words from offense

offenseless \ ə-​ˈfen(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce offense (audio) , especially for sense 3  ˈä-​ˌfen(t)s-​ , ˈȯ-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for offense

offense, resentment, umbrage, pique, dudgeon, huff mean an emotional response to or an emotional state resulting from a slight or indignity. offense implies hurt displeasure. takes deep offense at racial slurs resentment suggests lasting indignation or ill will. harbored a lifelong resentment of his brother umbrage may suggest hurt pride, resentment, or suspicion of another's motives. took umbrage at the offer of advice pique applies to a transient feeling of wounded vanity. in a pique I foolishly declined the invitation dudgeon suggests an angry fit of indignation. stormed out of the meeting in high dudgeon huff implies a peevish short-lived spell of anger usually at a petty cause. in a huff he slammed the door

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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Bruins can frustrate a free-flowing offense by doing little things like taking charges and playing with a bruising style. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Final Four men's preview: Breaking down Baylor-Houston, Gonzaga-UCLA matchups," 31 Mar. 2021 That charge would have been a gross misdemeanor instead of a felony on a first offense. Konstantin Toropin, CNN, "Minnesota Supreme Court overturns a felony rape conviction because the woman voluntarily got intoxicated," 30 Mar. 2021 He’d been projected just a year earlier as a top-10 selection and if not for a plodding double-post offense at Arizona that afforded him little room to operate he likely would have made good on his five-star pedigree and gone in the lottery. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "How Nico Mannion gave himself a chance at a long-term future with Warriors," 30 Mar. 2021 Arroyo was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia — a citable offense — and for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol in a public place, despite being in his own home when his wife summoned help. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Julian man choked to death on face mask in sheriff’s custody, autopsy finds," 30 Mar. 2021 On Monday night, one team started an undersized backcourt and went on to win by 39 points thanks to a surgical offense and stifling defense. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "As Cavaliers learn more about Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, they see evidence from Jazz on how unconventional backcourt can thrive," 30 Mar. 2021 That’s the biggest reason Texas (21-9) has been able to overcome a shaky offense and reach the Elite Eight for the first time since 2016 and just the third time since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1994. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas has ignored the skeptics on its way to the Elite Eight," 29 Mar. 2021 No matter the problem Gonzaga might confront, the answer is always more offense. New York Times, "As Gonzaga Dominates, U.C.L.A Tops Alabama in an N.C.A.A. Thriller," 28 Mar. 2021 The Longhorns’ defense secured its win over a capable UCLA offense Wednesday, limiting it to 13 points below its season scoring average. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "Katie Benzan, Chloe Bibby face old friends in No. 2 Maryland’s clash against No. 6 Texas in women’s basketball Sweet 16," 27 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of offense

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5b

History and Etymology for offense

Middle English offence, offense "assault, breach of law, causing of displeasure," borrowed from Anglo-French offense, borrowed from Latin offensa "encounter with an obstacle, injury, wrong," noun derivative from feminine of offensus, past participle of offendere "to strike against, break a rule, displease" — more at offend

Note: The English senses "act of stumbling, stumbling block" are dependent on the Biblical passage "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" (Isaiah 8:14, 1 Peter 2:8 in the Authorized/King James Version), itself dependent on the literal sense "stumble upon" of Latin offendere and its derivatives (cf. Vulgate "lapis offensionis et petra scandali").

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Time Traveler for offense

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for offense

Last Updated

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Offense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offense. Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for offense

offense

noun

English Language Learners Definition of offense

: something that causes a person to be hurt, angry, or upset
: something that is wrong or improper
: a criminal act

offense

noun
of·​fense
variants: or offence \ ə-​ˈfens \

Kids Definition of offense

1 : something done that hurts feelings or insults
3 : the act of hurting feelings or insulting
4 : a team or the part of a team that attempts to score in a game
5 : an act of attacking : assault

offense

noun
of·​fense
variants: or offence \ ə-​ˈfens How to pronounce offense (audio) \

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
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : an intentional unlawful act that causes damage to another and for which the law imposes an obligation for damages — compare quasi contract at contract, quasi-offense

Note: 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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Comments on offense

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