offensive [ uh- fen-siv or for 4, 5, aw-fen-, of-en-] Synonyms Examples Word Origin See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com causing resentful displeasure; highly irritating, angering, or annoying: offensive television commercials. unpleasant or disagreeable to the sense: an offensive odor. repugnant to the moral sense, good taste, or the like; insulting: an offensive remark; an offensive joke. pertaining to offense or attack: the offensive movements of their troops. characterized by attack; aggressive: offensive warfare. the position or attitude of aggression or attack: to take the offensive. an aggressive movement or attack: a carefully planned naval offensive. Origin of offensive 1540–50;
Medieval Latin offēnsīvus,
) past participle of
-īvus -ive Related forms of·fen·sive·ly, adverb of·fen·sive·ness, noun non·of·fen·sive, adjective non·of·fen·sive·ly, adverb non·of·fen·sive·ness, noun o·ver·of·fen·sive, adjective o·ver·of·fen·sive·ly, adverb o·ver·of·fen·sive·ness, noun pre·of·fen·sive, adjective pre·of·fen·sive·ly, adverb pre·of·fen·sive·ness, noun qua·si-of·fen·sive, adjective qua·si-of·fen·sive·ly, adverb su·per·of·fen·sive, adjective, noun su·per·of·fen·sive·ly, adverb su·per·of·fen·sive·ness, noun un·of·fen·sive, adjective un·of·fen·sive·ly, adverb un·of·fen·sive·ness, noun Usage note
Offensive is used in this dictionary to indicate that a particular term or definition is likely to be perceived as insulting by a listener or reader—an affront to that particular individual or to an entire group of like individuals—whether or not an offense was intended. Offensive is often paired with the label Disparaging used to indicate that those people who use the offensive term do so to offend intentionally. Antonyms 1, 2. pleasing. 4. defensive.
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for unoffensive Historical Examples Meanwhile, they had suddenly dropped their fusils, which immediately resumed their unoffensive position in the shoulder belt. British Dictionary definitions for unoffensive unpleasant or disgusting, as to the senses causing anger or annoyance; insulting for the purpose of attack rather than defence the offensive an attitude or position of aggression an assault, attack, or military initiative, esp a strategic one Derived Forms offensively, adverb offensiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for unoffensive offensive adj.
"attacking" (1540s), "insulting" (1570s), both from Middle French
offensif (16c.) and directly from Medieval Latin offensivus, from Latin offens-, past participle stem of offendere "offend" (see offend). Related: Offensively; offensiveness. offensive n.
"condition of attacking, aggressive action," 1720, from
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper