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[uh-fens, aw-fens, of-ens] /əˈfɛns, ˈɔ fɛns, ˈɒf ɛns/


or offence

[uh-fens or for 7–9, aw-fens, of-ens] /əˈfɛns or for 7–9, ˈɔ fɛns, ˈɒf ɛns/
a violation or breaking of a social or moral rule; transgression; sin.
a transgression of the law; misdemeanor.
a cause of transgression or wrong.
something that offends or displeases.
the act of offending or displeasing.
the feeling of resentful displeasure caused:
to give offense.
the act of attacking; attack or assault:
weapons of offense.
a person, army, etc., that is attacking.
  1. the players or team unit responsible for attacking or scoring in a game.
  2. the players possessing or controlling the ball, puck, etc., or the aspects or period of a game when this obtains.
  3. a pattern or style of scoring attack:
    single-wing offense; fast-break offense.
  4. offensive effectiveness; ability to score:
    a total breakdown in offense.
Archaic. injury, harm, or hurt.
Origin of offense
1325-75; Middle English offence, offense; in part < Middle French offens < Latin offēnsus collision, knock, equivalent to offend(ere) (see offend) + -tus suffix of v. action; in part < Middle French offenseLatin offēnsa, feminine past participle of offendere
Related forms
self-offense, noun
1, 2. trespass, felony, fault. See crime. 6. umbrage, resentment, wrath, indignation. 7. aggression. 8. besiegers, attackers, enemy, foe.
6. pleasure. 7. defense. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for offence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is no offence, therefore, by God to speak of His justice and His rights.

    Holy in Christ Andrew Murray
  • "I declare you guilty of the offence as charged, and sentence you—" and so on, and so on.

    The Friendly Road (AKA David Grayson) Ray Stannard Baker
  • Then, since you wish it, I must charge myself with the offence.

    Amphitryon Moliere
  • I hope none of my young friends will think this even palliated his offence.

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • Technically his offence was punishable by death—the old Chinese code being most stringent in such matters.

    The Fight For The Republic in China Bertram Lenox Putnam Weale
  • One of the men, who had been fined for some offence, began begging Markelov to let him off.

    Virgin Soil Ivan S. Turgenev
  • He had already been in the trenches held by both the French and British to study their methods of defence and offence.

British Dictionary definitions for offence


a violation or breach of a law, custom, rule, etc
  1. any public wrong or crime
  2. a nonindictable crime punishable on summary conviction
annoyance, displeasure, or resentment
give offence, give offence to someone, to cause annoyance or displeasure to someone
take offence, to feel injured, humiliated, or offended
a source of annoyance, displeasure, or anger
attack; assault
(archaic) injury or harm
(American football) the offense (ˈɒfɛns)
  1. the team that has possession of the ball
  2. the members of a team that play in such circumstances
Derived Forms
offenceless, (US) offenseless, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for offence

see offense.



late 14c., "hurt, harm, injury, pain," from Old French ofense "offense, insult, wrong" (13c.) and directly from Latin offensa "an offense, injury, affront, crime," literally "a striking against," noun use of fem. past participle of offendere (see offend). Meaning "action of attacking" and "feeling of being hurt" are both first recorded c.1400. Sense of "breach of the law, transgression" is first recorded late 14c. Sporting sense first recorded 1894.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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offence in the Bible

(1.) An injury or wrong done to one (1 Sam. 25:31; Rom. 5:15). (2.) A stumbling-block or cause of temptation (Isa. 8:14; Matt. 16:23; 18:7). Greek skandalon, properly that at which one stumbles or takes offence. The "offence of the cross" (Gal. 5:11) is the offence the Jews took at the teaching that salvation was by the crucified One, and by him alone. Salvation by the cross was a stumbling-block to their national pride.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with offence


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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