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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The decline in offense, and in home runs, is real, and there are a number of factors, including the expansion of humidors to all 30 parks and very likely some very basic changes in the composition of the baseball. Tony Blengino, Forbes, 18 May 2022 Now McGee and Hutson have the whole offseason to refine their skills and use them in different ways in the new offense. oregonlive, 17 May 2022 The Wildcats, primarily in a West Coast offense, did a variety of things offensively, including 50-50 work in shotgun and under center. David Furones, Sun Sentinel, 14 May 2022 Stroud might be more built to succeed in any offense. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, 13 May 2022 The Rattlers are second in the league behind the Sugar Skulls in offense with Drew Powell leading the attack. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 13 May 2022 The increase in offense, however, isn’t worth the loss of strategy that comes with it. WSJ, 11 May 2022 Surrounded by more talent and playing in a motion-centric offense, Carr’s season averages slumped to 11.4 points, 3.4 assists and 1.9 rebounds. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 6 May 2022 The hope was Foles would be able to thrive in former head coach Matt Nagy's offense. Alyssa Barbieri, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 See More

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.

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").

Learn More About offense

Time Traveler for offense

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near offense

offend the eye

offense

offensible

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for offense

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Offense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offense. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for offense

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on offense

Nglish: Translation of offense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of offense for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about offense

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!