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

But being at midfield really allows me to connect with more of the team and get involved with the offense more. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Field Hockey: Goetz, Liberty start county slate with win over South Carroll," 17 Sep. 2019 And don’t expect a return of The Blur offense either. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Chip Kelly doesn't want to run his wildly successful Oregon offense because it was 7 years ago," 16 Sep. 2019 Never been the focus of attention, particularly given the vast array of weapons in the Kansas City offense. Washington Post, "Chiefs’ Demarcus Robinson steps up in Tyreek Hill’s absence," 17 Sep. 2019 Devonta Freeman has been quiet so far and Smith could get more involved in the offense. Adam Ronis, SI.com, "Fantasy Football 2019: Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups," 17 Sep. 2019 Like all people charged with a criminal offense, Sheriff Wilkins is entitled to a presumption of innocence. CBS News, "Sheriff spoke of killing deputy who had recording of his "racially offensive" comments, charges say," 17 Sep. 2019 Even more impressive, this team ranks last in the Mountain West Conference in total offense and is one of five teams in the FBS without a touchdown pass this season. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "Arizona State, Kansas State among 5 college football teams off surprising starts," 15 Sep. 2019 The 31-year-old receiver was featured prominently in the Patriots offense on Sunday, scoring a 20-yard touchdown after a pass from quarterback Tom Brady. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Antonio Brown makes Patriots debut as his accuser is set to meet with NFL," 15 Sep. 2019 The Ducks rank 14th in scoring defense and 18th in offense, with Wisconsin, Georgia, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama, Kansas State, Maryland and UCF also ranking in the top 20 on both sides of the ball after three weeks of the season. oregonlive, "Statistically speaking: Oregon Ducks enter Pac-12 in top 20 of scoring offense, defense," 15 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for offense

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for offense

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

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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 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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Comments on offense

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