offensive

1 of 2

adjective

of·​fen·​sive ə-ˈfen(t)-siv How to pronounce offensive (audio)
especially for sense 1
ˈä-ˌfen(t)- How to pronounce offensive (audio)
ˈȯ-
1
a
: 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
offensively adverb
offensiveness noun

offensive

2 of 2

noun

1
: the act of an attacking party
2
: attack

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The Astros rode a balanced offensive attack to their 16th win in 20 games and their ninth consecutive home victory. Miami Herald, 12 July 2024 Also, sensitive noses will be happy to hear all blankets had practically no scent (prior to washings), which is certainly better than the flagrantly offensive active ingredients in DEET. Yelena Moroz Alpert, Architectural Digest, 12 July 2024
Noun
The coveted fighters, which should help Ukraine foil Russian missile attacks and assist in preparations for ground offensives, should be in Ukrainian skies later this summer, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Thursday. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 July 2024 Israel launched its military offensive on October 7 after the militant group Hamas, which governs Gaza, attacked southern Israel. Mohammad Al Sawalhi, CNN, 12 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for offensive 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'offensive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Adjective

circa 1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1687, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of offensive was circa 1564

Dictionary Entries Near offensive

Cite this Entry

“Offensive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/offensive. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

offensive

1 of 2 adjective
of·​fen·​sive ə-ˈfen(t)-siv How to pronounce offensive (audio)
1
a
: relating to or made or suited for attack
offensive weapons
b
: of or relating to the attempt to score in a game or contest
the offensive team
2
: causing painful or unpleasant sensations
an offensive smell
3
: causing displeasure or resentment
an offensive remark
offensively adverb
offensiveness noun

offensive

2 of 2 noun
1
: the state or attitude of one who is making an attack
on the offensive
2

Legal Definition

offensive

adjective
of·​fen·​sive ə-ˈfen-siv How to pronounce offensive (audio)
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
offensively adverb
offensiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on offensive

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