offensive

adjective
of·​fen·​sive | \ ə-ˈfen(t)-siv How to pronounce offensive (audio) , especially for sense 1 ˈä-ˌfen(t)-, ˈȯ- How to pronounce offensive (audio) \

Definition of offensive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : making attack : aggressive The bear made offensive movements.
b : of, relating to, or designed for attack offensive weapons
c : of or relating to an attempt to score in a game or contest offensive maneuvers also : of or relating to a team in possession of the ball or puck offensive linemen
2 : giving painful or unpleasant sensations : nauseous, obnoxious an offensive odor
3 : causing displeasure or resentment offensive remarks

offensive

noun

Definition of offensive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of an attacking party
2 : attack

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Other Words from offensive

Adjective

offensively adverb
offensiveness noun

Examples of offensive in a Sentence

Adjective He made some offensive remarks. An offensive odor was coming from the basement. Noun the primary offensive by the ground forces will commence at dawn tomorrow
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Keeping the Crimson Tide off the offensive glass is another key. Scottie Bordelon, Arkansas Online, "Follow live: No. 6 Alabama at No. 20 Arkansas," 25 Feb. 2021 Descent is still seen as a landmark in the history of the life sciences—though, inevitably, some passages strike modern readers as offensive, especially where Darwin speculates on issues of race and on gender roles. Dan Falk, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Darwin’s ‘Descent of Man’ Holds Up 150 Years After Publication," 25 Feb. 2021 Detroit Pistons rookie Saben Lee was the team's best offensive player once again on Tuesday, and this time it was coupled with a win. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons rookie Saben Lee steals the show again in 105-93 win over Orlando Magic," 24 Feb. 2021 The Dolphins, in desperate need of offensive playmakers, could use their first of two first-round picks on one of the best pass catchers in the draft like Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase or Florida’s Kyle Pitts. Safid Deen, sun-sentinel.com, "Here’s who oddsmakers believe will be taken with Dolphins’ No. 3 pick in draft," 24 Feb. 2021 The Atlanta Hawks pulled imposing interior force Clint Capela for the more versatile offensive threat Danilo Gallinari, trying to extend their tenuous one-point lead. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Undrafted rookie Lamar Stevens capitalizing on increased opportunity, proving to Cavaliers he belongs," 24 Feb. 2021 Long seen as offensive to Black Americans, Lee’s Capitol statue wasn’t the only one representing a figure from the Lost Cause, a term referring to a belief that fighting on the side of slaveholders in the Civil War was just and heroic. Aaron Morrison, ajc, "SPLC: At least 160 Confederate symbols taken down in 2020," 24 Feb. 2021 Scott spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Clemson, first as a receivers coach before eventually moving into the role of co-offensive coordinator in 2005. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "USF’s Jeff Scott welcomes UCF’s Gus Malzahn to War on I-4 rivalry," 24 Feb. 2021 Kane has been an offensive dynamo this season, particularly in recent games. Phil Thompson, chicagotribune.com, "Patrick Kane scores his 398th goal, and Alex DeBrincat’s shootout winner gives the Chicago Blackhawks a 6-5 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets," 24 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Goncalves quickly goes on the offensive and gives the intruder a load of trouble — delivering a torrent of punches and kicks as the man tries to flee, the clip shows. Fox News, "Nurse in Brazil fights off intruder while recording herself twerking for Instagram," 25 Feb. 2021 So as usual, Jeanne decided to go on the offensive. Tori Telfer, refinery29.com, "The Sordid Tale Of The Woman Who Scammed Marie-Antoinette," 23 Feb. 2021 For one, Goro, the multi-armed Shokan, is seen hurling himself into the air on the offensive. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Everything you may have missed in the Mortal Kombat trailer," 18 Feb. 2021 Republicans will be on the offensive on some of their priorities and on the defensive in trying to prevent Democrats from going forward with some of their agenda. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Virginia legislative session will focus on budget, COVID-19 issues," 12 Jan. 2021 In Virginia—the worst state in the U.S. to work—Democratic lawmakers are now attempting to strike a modest blow to the GOP’s long-running offensive against majority rule by repealing its almost 75-year-old right-to-work statute. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Right to Work on a Hot Planet," 25 Jan. 2021 In an effective declaration of victory for Russia's espionage offensive against the US more than four years ago, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian Parliament, slid home the knife. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Washington's agony is a win for autocrats and strongmen," 14 Jan. 2021 El-Sisi has led a years-long offensive against Islamists and their supporters. Selcan Hacaoglu, Bloomberg.com, "Charlie Hebdo’s Erdogan Caricature Fans Turkey-France Feud," 28 Oct. 2020 JPMorgan Chase, as part of its charm offensive, had loaned Neumann more than ninety-five million dollars, some of it to help finance the purchase of five mansions. Charles Duhigg, The New Yorker, "How Venture Capitalists Are Deforming Capitalism," 23 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'offensive.' 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 offensive

Adjective

circa 1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1687, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for offensive

Adjective

borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French offensif, borrowed from Medieval Latin offensīvus "used for attacking, causing injury," from Latin offensus, past participle of offendere "to strike against, break a rule, offend" + -īvus -ive

Noun

derivative of offensive entry 1

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Time Traveler for offensive

Time Traveler

The first known use of offensive was circa 1564

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Statistics for offensive

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Offensive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offensive. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for offensive

offensive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of offensive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: causing someone to feel hurt, angry, or upset : rude or insulting
: very unpleasant
sports : of or relating to the way that players try to score against an opponent in a game or contest

offensive

noun

English Language Learners Definition of offensive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a large military attack

offensive

adjective
of·​fen·​sive | \ ə-ˈfen-siv How to pronounce offensive (audio) \

Kids Definition of offensive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : causing displeasure or resentment an offensive smell an offensive question
2 : of or relating to the attempt to score in a game or contest the offensive team
3 : made for or relating to an attack offensive weapons an offensive strategy

Other Words from offensive

offensively adverb
offensiveness noun

offensive

noun

Kids Definition of offensive (Entry 2 of 2)

: attack entry 2 sense 1 The enemy launched an offensive.
on the offensive
: in a situation that calls for opposing action The soldiers are on the offensive.

offensive

adjective
of·​fen·​sive | \ ə-ˈfen-siv How to pronounce offensive (audio) \

Legal Definition of offensive

1 : of, relating to, or designed for attack offensive weapons
2 : causing displeasure or resentment especially : contrary to a particular or prevailing sense of what is decent, proper, or moral depicted sexual acts in a patently offensive way — see also obscene

Other Words from offensive

offensively adverb
offensiveness noun

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Comments on offensive

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