Synonym Chooser

How is the word offend distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of offend are affront, insult, and outrage. While all these words mean "to cause hurt feelings or deep resentment," offend need not imply an intentional hurting but it may indicate merely a violation of the victim's sense of what is proper or fitting.

hoped that my remarks had not offended her

Where would affront be a reasonable alternative to offend?

The synonyms affront and offend are sometimes interchangeable, but affront implies treating with deliberate rudeness or contemptuous indifference to courtesy.

deeply affronted by his callousness

When would insult be a good substitute for offend?

In some situations, the words insult and offend are roughly equivalent. However, insult suggests deliberately causing humiliation, hurt pride, or shame.

insulted every guest at the party

When might outrage be a better fit than offend?

The words outrage and offend are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, outrage implies offending beyond endurance and calling forth extreme feelings.

outraged by their accusations

Thesaurus Entries Near offend

Cite this Entry

“Offend.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

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