[uh-fens, aw-fens, of-ens]



or of·fence

[uh-fens or for 7–9, aw-fens, of-ens]


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 formsself-of·fense, noun

Synonyms for offense

1, 2. trespass, felony, fault. 6. umbrage, resentment, wrath, indignation. 7. aggression. 8. besiegers, attackers, enemy, foe.

Synonym study

1, 2. See crime.

Antonyms for offense Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for offence

Contemporary Examples of offence

Historical Examples of offence

British Dictionary definitions for offence


US offense


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 or 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
the offense (ˈɒfɛns) American football
  1. the team that has possession of the ball
  2. the members of a team that play in such circumstances
Derived Formsoffenceless or 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

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

Idioms and Phrases with offence


see no offense; take offense.

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