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 offenseless (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 Tigers came into their semistate matchup with Linton-Stockton with one of the most dynamic offenses in the state, but managed just 11 points in the first half and went into the break with an 11-point deficit. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: What we learned in Indiana girls basketball heading into state championship week," 23 Feb. 2020 One of the top offenses in the ACC returns its starting quarterback, two running backs, its top two wide receivers and three offensive line starters. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "6 players to watch as Louisville football kicks off the spring practice period," 21 Feb. 2020 The list of offenses includes multiple thefts, reports of harassment, possible drink tampering and rape, and several DUII, including the one that ended in the death of a passenger. oregonlive, "Liquor license canceled for popular UO-adjacent Taylor’s Bar and Grill," 20 Feb. 2020 The man charged with her murder was out on bond after charges of several violent offenses at the time he was arrested in the Blanchard case. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Alabama bail reform bill called Aniah’s Law advances in House," 19 Feb. 2020 Yet Bloomberg’s sharp rise in polling has coincided with a concerted effort by the media to score him for all of these grave offenses against political correctness. Kyle Smith, National Review, "How Being Politically Incorrect Could Help Bloomberg," 19 Feb. 2020 The price tag may be steep for a team needing a lot of help on defense, but by selecting Ruggs to replace Cobb as the team’s starting slot receiver, the Cowboys could put together one of the most explosive offenses in football. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 draft prospects who could replace key Cowboys free agents, including Byron Jones’ possible successor," 17 Feb. 2020 The San Francisco Police Department issues moving violations for sidewalk riding, but the city’s traffic court couldn’t provide data on the number of offenses because vehicle violations aren’t scooter-specific. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "Abandoned, peed on by dogs: As SF scooters ramp up, complaints are rare but colorful," 16 Feb. 2020 The over/under is 232.5, which feels somewhat low for two of the best offenses in the NBA. Cameron Dasilva, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets odds, picks and best bets," 11 Feb. 2020

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

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Offense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offense. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for offense

offense

noun
How to pronounce offense (audio) How to pronounce offense (audio)

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 offence (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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