Definition of offensive in English:

offensive

adjective

  • 1Causing someone to feel resentful, upset, or annoyed.

    ‘the allegations made are deeply offensive to us’
    ‘offensive language’
    • ‘There will be people who find the above image highly offensive and insensitive.’
    • ‘By this point Aunt Sally has moved on to the next offensive remark.’
    • ‘I found the tone of your comments surprisingly offensive, which is very unusual for me.’
    • ‘No matter what your stance on gun control this would be morally offensive.’
    • ‘Yes, I know this message could be offensive to certain people.’
    • ‘He says he regrets that the comment was offensive.’
    • ‘The FCC definition of indecency focuses on language deemed patently offensive by community broadcast standards.’
    • ‘The film provoked controversy because of its use of offensive language, and was given an 18 rating by film censors.’
    • ‘I couldn't figure it out… I hadn't said anything even remotely offensive!’
    • ‘He didn't say anything too offensive, but his eyes mocked her.’
    • ‘His writings were deemed offensive on various grounds, including personal, religious and political.’
    • ‘"It was offensive to some people, " founder Richard Yoo says.’
    • ‘Apparently, it was deemed too offensive by the BBC in 1962.’
    • ‘Whatever it is, I find it highly offensive.’
    • ‘‘Smoking should be treated by Hollywood as seriously as offensive language,’ he says.’
    • ‘Therefore, it would not be considered offensive in nature.’
    • ‘Bart said he was deeply sorry for the offensive language.’
    • ‘Instead a particular kind of behaviour - such as smoking, unhealthy eating, or offensive language - is merely deemed beyond the pale.’
    • ‘If it's offensive to your sensibilities, then move on to something else.’
    • ‘Officials have always been able to send off players who use offensive, abusive or insulting language, but now that definition's been extended to cover gestures too.’
    insulting, rude, derogatory, disrespectful, hurtful, wounding, abusive, objectionable, displeasing, annoying, exasperating, irritating, vexing, galling, provocative, provoking, humiliating, impertinent, impudent, insolent, personal, discourteous, uncivil, impolite, unmannerly, unacceptable, shocking, scandalous, outrageous
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    1. 1.1 (of a sight or smell) disgusting; repulsive.
      ‘an offensive odour’
      • ‘The blossom is pollinated by flies that are attracted by its offensive smell: rotting flesh.’
      • ‘‘This gives off a very offensive odour, certainly when it is spread in dry weather,’ he said.’
      • ‘But if the smell is offensive, you need to tackle it along with the athlete's foot.’
      • ‘A doctor friend of ours kindly provided a large supply of surgical masks which I wore constantly to mask the imaginary offensive smells emitting from the kitchen.’
      • ‘For hundreds of years herbs and spices have been used to cover up and eliminate offensive odours in the home.’
      • ‘Chimney-sweeps, on the other hand, formed distinct and coherent communities, their filthy appearance and offensive smell forcing them into collective isolation.’
      • ‘Be advised that if you encounter people who do carry an offensive odor, do not just tell them they stink.’
      • ‘One such hide hung from the opposite wall, an offensive smell permeating it.’
      • ‘Most mattresses lose their offensive smell within a few weeks, especially in a well-ventilated bedroom.’
      • ‘Other offensive odours can come from areas such as the refrigerator, garbage bins, including indoor compost buckets, musty drawers and even shoes.’
      • ‘What's wrong with admitting that some smells are offensive?’
      • ‘I don't believe that there are many people around now who still genuinely find a nude human being to be an offensive sight.’
      • ‘In a three-month period, there were 33 disruptive incidents in total, most relating to having an offensive smell or verbal abuse.’
      • ‘Certain regions of the street were near inapproachable due to offensive odours, the likes of which could be produced only by excessive waste.’
      • ‘The list is a not-so-subtle attempt to shift attention away from the offensive odors that usually cause complaints.’
      • ‘A place where those who find offensive the sight of their neighbours walking down the street now have their very own Commission to complain to.’
      • ‘It will not have the offensive smell of raw pig waste and will hopefully be available to farmers at less than the cost of imported fertilisers.’
      • ‘Whereas gravlax has never had an offensive smell, the more fully fermented rakefisk is quite different in this respect.’
      • ‘I'm just glad we will be spared the sight of this offensive spectacle.’
      • ‘Neighbors called authorities after an offensive smell began emanating from the house in Sydney's southern suburbs.’
      unpleasant, disagreeable, nasty, distasteful, displeasing, objectionable, off-putting, uninviting, awful, terrible, dreadful, frightful, obnoxious, abominable, disgusting, repulsive, repellent, repugnant, revolting, abhorrent, loathsome, hateful, detestable, execrable, odious, vile, foul, unsavoury, unpalatable, sickening, nauseating, nauseous, ugly, unsightly
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  • 2attributive Actively aggressive; attacking.

    ‘offensive operations against the insurgents’
    • ‘Historically, urban warfare has been among the most difficult offensive operations, leaving many attackers and defenders dead.’
    • ‘The captain said the unit supported airlift operations and offensive air support operations.’
    • ‘First, for the insurgent, warfare is always offensive, never defensive; always protracted, never swift.’
    • ‘Apparently, the framers believed in a distinction between aggressive or offensive war and defensive military measures.’
    • ‘It will be the hub of all logistics support for combat forces conducting offensive operations in littoral regions.’
    • ‘An air defense effectiveness indicator in offensive operations should reflect the extent of air superiority of the friendly forces.’
    • ‘Efficient performance of these tasks largely determined success of offensive operations.’
    • ‘Apparently a decision was made to conduct a simultaneous air/land offensive operation.’
    • ‘As hostilities unfold and become tenser, the sides will inevitably launch multiple defensive and offensive operations.’
    • ‘In planning the war, Japan set clearly aggressive, offensive tasks.’
    • ‘Victories won through aggressive offensive action would give a small army a moral ascendancy over its foes, allowing it to obtain decisive victory.’
    • ‘The purpose of this follow-on operation was to further reduce the offensive capabilities of the militia.’
    • ‘You need offensive mobility to actively seek attacking opportunities.’
    • ‘The MCS will provide direct and beyond-line-of-sight offensive firepower.’
    • ‘The attack actions include offensive measures and supporting measures, as shown in the table.’
    • ‘Securing the base meant conducting offensive ground combat operations.’
    • ‘They are most proud of the fact that they could quickly shift gears from force protection operations to direct offensive combat without missing a beat.’
    • ‘They never used offensive power to enlarge national territories at the expense of others.’
    • ‘Designed as a heavy fighter the Unicorn gunboat has the offensive power to take out small capitol ships, providing it lasts that long though.’
    • ‘The offensive tempo of the operation would ebb and flow for the duration of the battle, changing rapidly due to the enemy's ability to use terrain to his advantage.’
    hostile, attacking, aggressive, invading, incursive, combative, threatening, martial, warlike, belligerent, bellicose, antagonistic, on the attack
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    1. 2.1 (of a weapon) meant for use in attack.
      ‘he is also accused of possessing an offensive weapon’
      • ‘Building defenses to stop offensive missiles has gone global, as well it should.’
      • ‘Butler was tried and convicted of carrying an offensive weapon.’
      • ‘‘We keep all legislation to deal with knives and offensive weapons under review to ensure they are effective and enforceable,’ he said.’
      • ‘Seizures of drugs and offensive weapons other than guns, during stop and searches were also the highest outside the Metropolitan Police force.’
      • ‘Since the galley represented by the model in Plates V and VI, was built in 1736, her dominant offensive weapon was a cannon at her bow.’
      • ‘The police currently have the power to stop and search people in connection with the carrying of knives and other offensive weapons.’
      • ‘To achieve these goals, he is likely to use the entire range of his aerospace offensive weapons.’
      • ‘Characteristics of offensive weapons are improved, enabling them to be used, quite soon, both in airspace and outer space.’
      • ‘A charge of possession of a wooden truncheon as an offensive weapon on the A61 Leeds Road at Pannal on the same day was dropped.’
      • ‘They found 13 firearms and 266 offensive weapons.’
      • ‘The thinking behind offensive grenades is that the thrower is in the open attacking an enemy position, and so cannot take cover, so he aims to stun the enemy with an explosive blast.’
      • ‘The rapid technological development of offensive weapons posed a serious challenge to air defenders.’
      • ‘They do not want other countries in Asia to get any kind of offensive missiles and nuclear weapons.’
      • ‘He further admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and each defendant also admitted carrying an offensive weapon in public.’
      • ‘One was also cautioned for carrying an offensive weapon after a knuckle-duster and a knife were found.’
      • ‘Current non-arrestable offences include impersonating a police officer, failing to stop a vehicle when ordered to do so and manufacturing or selling an offensive weapon.’
      • ‘In August 1992 Williams was convicted of trespassing with an offensive weapon and was given a 12-month conditional discharge.’
      • ‘He said the bow and arrow constituted an offensive weapon and warned others not to make similar mistakes.’
      • ‘One consequence of the increased sophistication of offensive weapons has been the increased sophistication of defensive strategies.’
      • ‘A weapon with one but not both characteristics should not be considered offensive.’
    2. 2.2North American Relating to the team in possession of the ball or puck in a game.
      ‘Shell was an outstanding offensive tackle during his 15 years with the Raiders’
      • ‘However, Oakland has the offensive weapons to give the Chargers' defense fits.’
      • ‘Rolls has the starting job at second base largely because of his offensive power.’
      • ‘There aren't enough great offensive defensemen to go around.’
      • ‘The timeout is given at the first deadball when the team requesting it has offensive possession or on a foul.’
      • ‘The only positions declared dosed in the first round are quarterback and offensive tackle.’
      • ‘Aldridge is such a good rebounder he can get 10 points a game using offensive putbacks and free throws.’
      • ‘There are many reasons why people say Anthony Munoz is greatest offensive lineman ever.’
      • ‘He has the height and weight NFL teams desire in an offensive tackle.’
      • ‘Boudreau joined the team last year and brought dramatic improvement to the offensive line.’
      • ‘The Mavericks probably are the most potent offensive team in the game but are criticized for their defense.’
      • ‘Malone is averaging 1.7 offensive rebounds, well under his career mark of 2.5.’
      • ‘I think tight ends who can block are appreciated even less than offensive linemen.’
      • ‘Still, there are a lot of options for teams in need of offensive playmakers.’
      • ‘He is a solid on the ball defender, which makes up for his unorthodox offensive game.’
      • ‘AFC West observers aren't sure the Chargers can last with their offensive line.’
      • ‘The Broncos have more offensive weapons than they did in their Super Bowl years.’
      • ‘What do most offensive linemen get noticed for, anyway?’
      • ‘The offensive team passes the ball from man to man while the defense adjusts and follows the ball.’
      • ‘They need to score with their defense and get a lot of offensive rebounds.’
      • ‘To do this you will need to increase their turnovers or get more offensive rebounds.’

noun

  • 1An attacking military campaign.

    ‘an impending military offensive against the guerrillas’
    • ‘Tonight, the United States stepping up its offensive against insurgents after violence escalates dramatically.’
    • ‘Reflecting Soviet military doctrine, the DPRK has traditionally viewed chemical weapons as an integral part of any military offensive.’
    • ‘Who is likely to benefit from such a bizarre war, a military offensive prosecuted as an exercise in risk-avoidance?’
    • ‘Rebels in the country's oil-rich Niger delta have threatened to attack oil facilities unless the military halts an offensive.’
    • ‘As a result of government military offensives, the people have suffered from death and serious injury, food shortages, homelessness and internal displacement.’
    • ‘In December 1998 the alliance began an offensive to retake Freetown and in January overran most of the city.’
    • ‘The president has warned that he could launch military offensives if the rebels fail to conclude talks with the government by Friday.’
    • ‘The war plan outlines a military offensive that would lead to thousands, if not tens of thousands of casualties.’
    • ‘India said it was ‘greatly disappointed’ and stressed military offensives were not an alternative to peace.’
    • ‘This year under considerable pressure from the army, the president gave the go-ahead for a military offensive against separatist guerillas in Aceh.’
    • ‘The arrest comes as American and Iraqi troops step up their offensive against insurgents.’
    • ‘Insofar as details are available, the plan involved both a military offensive in the north and a coup attempt in the capital.’
    • ‘Military sources say they're laying down the groundwork for an eventual offensive to retake Fallujah from insurgents.’
    • ‘Yet, once again, the response of the ruling elite is to insist that there can be no retreat and to launch a number of military offensives in Iraq.’
    • ‘In 1998 and 1999, they launched new military offensives and extended its control, driving its opponents into pockets of territory in the north east.’
    • ‘Forces launched an offensive to retake the region at the beginning of May.’
    • ‘Planning offensives, like military campaigns or space probes, are given virile, go-get-'em titles.’
    • ‘A new round of exploratory talks, scuttled by accusations on both sides of military offensives, may happen soon, Kabalu said.’
    • ‘The suppression was so controversial and bloody, however, that UN peacekeepers would not engage in military offensives for another thirty years.’
    • ‘The government claims it has reduced the rebel firepower and military strength since launching offensives after the groups were listed.’
    attack, assault, onslaught, drive, invasion, push, thrust, charge, sortie, sally, foray, raid, offence, act of war, act of aggression, incursion, blitz, campaign
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    1. 1.1 An organized and forceful campaign to achieve something, typically a political or social end.
      ‘the need to launch an offensive against crime’
      • ‘They had consciously worked to keep the issue of the explosion of imperialist militarism separate from the capitalist offensive against democratic and social rights.’
      • ‘But I am puzzled by the apparent conviction that the golden rice project is somehow compromised by the industry offensive.’
      • ‘The alliance between these discredited forces could not withstand a sustained political offensive by the working class.’
      • ‘Minority shareholders in the beermaker are gearing up for a court battle in their continued em>offensive against the majority owner.’
      • ‘Alongside the offensive against social rights, basic democratic rights are also under fire.’
      • ‘This is a political struggle against a government that has waged a non-stop offensive against all of the past social gains of the working class.’
      • ‘First, governments began an offensive against the social welfare conditions they had been obliged to grant to the working class in an earlier period.’
      • ‘In 1988 the Conservative government introduced the Education Act as part of its general offensive against welfare and social services.’
      • ‘It has become increasingly clear that it is impossible to repulse the offensive launched against the working class without challenging the basis of the capitalist system.’
      • ‘Here, too, a courageous political offensive would undermine the influence of Islamism, which can offer no answer to the social crisis.’
      • ‘From 1967 to 1982 he was in charge of the KGB, where he pursued very successful offensives against political dissidents and against corruption.’
      • ‘The president's first offensive against social security has already been pushed onto the back burner.’
      • ‘I think the issue of file-sharing requires something of a public relations offensive, not a legal battering.’
      • ‘The government and bosses are mounting the biggest offensive on social rights and welfare since the end of the Second World War.’
      • ‘Yorkshire Water today went on to a public relations offensive targeting both its business and domestic customers.’
      • ‘In a short period Reebok India has become the market leader; it has even found it necessary to launch an offensive against counterfeiting of its products.’
      • ‘He said the ICSA would next week mount an offensive at EU level with other farm organisations to secure a higher ewe premium.’
      • ‘The mid-1990s saw a public relations offensive from Shell.’
      • ‘The bosses' organisation is pushing for an offensive against workers.’
      • ‘A social offensive is being waged in every country against the working class, aimed at clawing back the concessions that were made to avert the socialist threat in an earlier period.’
      campaign, drive, push, move, movement, effort, struggle
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Phrases

  • be on the offensive

    • Act or be ready to act aggressively.

      ‘the forces of fascism were very much on the offensive’
      • ‘The home side, who were on the offensive from the start, were rewarded with a goal after 13 minutes.’
      • ‘He came across as a credible candidate, and he was usually on the offensive.’
      • ‘The chiefs who opposed the fiscal institutions legislation were on the offensive from the beginning.’
      • ‘Well, the potential for a different kind of scam has proponents of electronic voting on the offensive.’
      • ‘The idea that fundamentalism is on the offensive and threatening to dominate public life is widely held on both sides of the Atlantic.’
      • ‘He was a different fighter and from the start he was on the offensive, taking the first point with a straight left through Kindelan's guard.’
      • ‘I think the president has also been on the offensive, which I think has certainly helped him.’
      • ‘However, Lisa comes right back on the offensive and warns her not to say a thing.’
      • ‘With a gun, it is always better to be on the offensive than the defensive.’
      • ‘The developers are on the offensive, claiming they need to build on more greenfield sites.’
  • go on (to) the offensive (or take the offensive)

    • Take the initiative by beginning to attack or act aggressively.

      ‘security forces took the offensive ten days ago’
      • ‘After the break, Baltinglass went on the offensive again, with Paddy Kelly putting them 3-1 up on 55 minutes.’
      • ‘Earlier he attempted to take the offensive, attacking the media coverage of the whole affair.’
      • ‘By taking the offensive in strength in Lorraine, the French seized the initiative and forced the Germans to fight the decisive battle there between Metz and Strasbourg.’
      • ‘Every time he tried to go on the offensive, he found himself blocking another attack.’
      • ‘Mr Brown went on the offensive over the European budget and called for sheltered markets to be opened up, ‘starting with agriculture’.’
      • ‘They went on the offensive today in a bid to generate an extra £500 million revenue over the next five years from small and medium-sized businesses.’
      • ‘The British Phonographic Industry went on the offensive today by telling UK filesharers stop sharing music - or end up in court.’
      • ‘A decisive call on working people to go on the offensive against the social attacks by the government would certainly get a response.’
      • ‘Franges not only was able to respond to all of the attacks, but also managed to go on the offensive.’
      • ‘Security forces have also gone on the offensive.’
      begin to attack, attack first, be aggressive, strike the first blow, start a battle, start a quarrel, start a war
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Origin

Mid 16th century: from French offensif, -ive or medieval Latin offensivus, from Latin offens- ‘struck against’, from the verb offendere (see offend).

Pronunciation

offensive

/əˈfɛnsɪv/