variants: or offence

Synonyms & Antonyms of offense

2 the act or action of setting upon with force or violence
  • combat casualties grew enormously as the weapons of offense became far more technologically advanced than defensive armor

Synonyms for offense

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3 an act or expression showing scorn and usually intended to hurt another's feelings
  • a diplomat never deliberately gives offense

Synonyms for offense

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4 the feeling of being offended or resentful after a slight or indignity
  • my mother was prone to take offense even at the most innocent remark

Synonyms for offense

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About offense

How does the noun offense contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of offense are crime, scandal, sin, and vice. While all these words mean "a transgression of law," offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code.

at that school no offense went unpunished

In what contexts can crime take the place of offense?

In some situations, the words crime and offense are roughly equivalent. However, crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state.

the crime of murder

When can scandal be used instead of offense?

The words scandal and offense can be used in similar contexts, but scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience.

a career ruined by a sex scandal

When is it sensible to use sin instead of offense?

The synonyms sin and offense are sometimes interchangeable, but sin implies an offense against moral or religious law.

the sin of blasphemy

Where would vice be a reasonable alternative to offense?

The meanings of vice and offense largely overlap; however, vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts.

regarded gambling as a vice

Learn More About offense

Time Traveler for offense

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Offense.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on offense

Nglish: Translation of offense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of offense for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about offense


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