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 Sophomore offensive tackle Wanya Morris entered the NCAA transfer portal Wednesday afternoon, AL.com has learned. Matt Zenitz | Mzenitz@al.com, al, "Former five-star recruit set to leave Tennessee," 13 Jan. 2021 Ty Hamilton, wide receiver Jaylen Harris, offensive tackle Dawand Jones, linebacker Cade Kacherski, linebacker Mitchell Melton, safety Kourt Williams and running back Miyan Williams. Joey Kaufman, USA TODAY, "Ohio State to be without two starting defensive linemen for title game against Alabama," 11 Jan. 2021 Then somehow, some way, a bunch of quarterback-needy teams ignore Fields and he isn't chosen until No. 15 overall by the Patriots — one spot after the Vikings pick Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Michael Rand, Star Tribune, "ESPN mock draft: QB Justin Fields would be available to Vikings at No. 14," 8 Jan. 2021 Losing out on Leigh puts pressure on Ohio State to find a five-star offensive tackle in 2022. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Tristan Leigh, Ohio State football 5-star target, commits to Clemson: Buckeye Recruiting," 2 Jan. 2021 Also on Saturday, the Cowboys elevated offensive tackle William Sweet and defensive tackle Walter Palmore from the practice squad. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Three Cowboys coaches unavailable Sunday vs. Giants as part of COVID-19 fallout," 2 Jan. 2021 Tucker did add three players from the portal in former Temple starting QB Anthony Russo, former four-star running back Harold Joiner III from Auburn and former Arkansas State starting offensive tackle Jarrett Horst. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State year in review: Where does football coaching change rank in chaotic 2020?," 1 Jan. 2021 Kamara is the 17th winner of the Jim Finks Media Appreciation Award in the past 19 seasons, as two players have won the award twice: defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (2018, 2017) and former offensive tackle Zach Strief (2012, 2014). Amie Just | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Saints RB Alvin Kamara wins 2020 Jim Finks Media Appreciation Award," 31 Dec. 2020 Diaz has had success with the portal in his two years as head coach, evidenced by King, Phillips, Roche, Borregales, Bolden, offensive tackle Jarrid Williams and others. David Furones, sun-sentinel.com, "Hurricanes face number of offseason questions after bowl loss to Oklahoma State," 30 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After learning the truth about himself, Swamp Thing (Derek Mears) goes on the offensive against the mercenaries in the finale of the science fiction series. Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Tuesday: The finale of ‘Swamp Thing’ on the CW," 21 Dec. 2020 On Wednesday, Facebook went on the offensive to forestall Apple's changes. Star Tribune, "Facebook ups the ante in battle with 'unfair' Apple," 19 Dec. 2020 The health department’s emergency response coordinator, Patti Corn, welcomed the chance to finally go on the offensive against the disease. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago-area vaccination sites will be at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies — but also drive-thrus at schools, parks and maybe Six Flags," 4 Dec. 2020 After Briann January drew a Vegas offensive foul, Thomas made the Aces pay with a floater on the other end to put the Sun up by five with just under 50 seconds remaining. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, "Alyssa Thomas dislocated her shoulder Tuesday. Two days later, her gutsy performance propelled her Connecticut Sun team one win away from the WNBA Finals.," 25 Sep. 2020 On September 27 this year, Azerbaijan, backed by the Turkish government, launched an offensive on Nagorno-Karabakh as a means to take over the regain. Sabrina Papazian, Smithsonian Magazine, "In Times of Conflict, How Can We Support the People Who Keep Culture Alive," 22 Dec. 2020 As scrutiny builds over the extent of their relationship, Swalwell has gone on the offensive and has demanded an investigation into how the story initially leaked. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Questions raised over when Eric Swalwell knew about Chinese spy suspect Fang Fang," 18 Dec. 2020 That posture should be one oriented on the initiative of action (both diplomatic and military), on shaping events with constant activity and ideas, on being positioned forward, of being intellectually if not strategically on the offensive. John Hillen, National Review, "How to Remember Pearl Harbor Day," 7 Dec. 2020 The struggles on offensive continued for Casa Grande, and Cactus would once again capitalize on its stellar defensive play. The Arizona Republic, "Cactus, Mesquite advance to 4A state high school football championship," 4 Dec. 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.

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

Time Traveler for offensive

Time Traveler

The first known use of offensive was circa 1564

See more words from the same year

Statistics for offensive

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Offensive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offensive. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for offensive

offensive

adjective
How to pronounce offensive (audio) How to pronounce offensive (audio)

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

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

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!