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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The game showcased a U.S. offensive attack that is at its strongest in years, if not ever, as well as the lingering questions that will trail the Americans to France, where the World Cup kicks off June 7. ... Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Heads Into World Cup on a Winning Note," 26 May 2019 Defensive lasers could revolutionize aerial warfare and lead to a second revolution with even more profound implications for air warfare—offensive lasers. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Fighter Jets Could Soon Be Armed With Lasers," 6 May 2019 And the pores themselves are less offensive than the blackheads that live rent-free in their depths. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "I Regret to Inform You Vintner’s Daughter Is Totally Worth It," 24 Apr. 2019 And if people weren’t in my immediate circle, like family and very few friends, people didn’t know about it, so people sometimes would make comments that were very offensive. Rainesford Stauffer, WSJ, "For Ballet’s Foremost #MeToo Accuser, a Second Act," 22 Feb. 2019 For the record, the totally baseless and offensive claims made against me today on social media are completely false. NBC News, "NFL player LeSean McCoy's estranged ex-girlfriend attacked during home invasion," 11 July 2018 Managing the psych-out battle of where the next shot will go with your own return positioning while balancing the offensive and defensive potential of your power meter is a heady mix that requires intense focus. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Mario Tennis Aces review: Turning tennis into a fighting game," 22 June 2018 Dave Warner and Jim Bollman, who had been co-offensive coordinators, were reassigned. Noah Trister, The Seattle Times, "Michigan St coaching shuffle won’t ease scrutiny on offense," 12 Apr. 2019 Christopher, of course, committed to Michigan last summer and is still part of the Wolverines' 2019 class as a defensive end/offensive tackle prospect. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football in top 5 for 5-star Georgia OT Myles Hinton (2020)," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tens of thousands of Croatians, mostly pro-fascist soldiers and their families, fled to the region in May 1945 amid a Yugoslav army offensive, only to be turned back from Austria by the British military and into the hands of anti-fascists. Dusan Stojanovic, The Seattle Times, "Croats gather in Austria for controversial commemoration," 18 May 2019 Their latest offensive: a push to investigate Rosenstein for alleged threats to congressional aides. Jen Kirby, Vox, "2 Trump allies in the House demand an investigation into Rod Rosenstein," 17 July 2018 Opposition supporters said Thursday that the army’s crushing victories in other rebel strongholds had loomed large over this offensive, breaking morale and encouraging towns and villages to surrender as the bombing intensified. Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, "Syrian army raises flag above city considered as birthplace of uprising against Assad," 12 July 2018 New offensives by the regime risk pulling foreign powers deeper into the conflict. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 Many are sharing the meme, which displays offensive, and often violent, views of LGBTQ+ people, and the whole thing seems to have started as a joke between fans, according to BuzzFeed. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Millie Bobby Brown's Photos Have Been Made Into an Anti-Gay Meme," 14 June 2018 The Houthi-run Al Masirah satellite news channel later acknowledged the offensive, claiming rebel forces hit a Saudi coalition ship near Hodeida with two land-to-sea missiles. NBC News, "Saudi-led forces aim to drive rebels from Yemeni port of Hodeida," 13 June 2018 North Korea has been seeking several things from an ongoing charm offensive, launched just this year. Jon Wolfsthal, The New Republic, "Trump Plays Hard to Get," 24 May 2018 Nearly three years after Jefferson County considered covering or removing two murals that some considered offensive, a new mural that depicts the diversity of the county in the 21st Century was unveiled in the courthouse lobby. Erin Edgemon, AL.com, "Jefferson County unveils inclusive mural next to 2 deemed offensive," 24 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about offensive

Dictionary Entries near offensive

offend the eye

offense

offensible

offensive

offer

offerable

offerer

Statistics for offensive

Last Updated

5 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for offensive

The first known use of offensive was circa 1564

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on offensive

What made you want to look up offensive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!