[ uh-fens or, for 7-9, aw-fens, of-ens ]
See synonyms for offense on
  1. a violation or breaking of a social or moral rule; transgression; sin.

  2. a transgression of the law; misdemeanor.

  1. a cause of transgression or wrong.

  2. something that offends or displeases.

  3. the act of offending or displeasing.

  4. the feeling of resentful displeasure caused: to give offense.

  5. the act of attacking; attack or assault: weapons of offense.

  6. a person, army, etc., that is attacking.

  7. Sports.

    • the players or team unit responsible for attacking or scoring in a game.

    • the players possessing or controlling the ball, puck, etc., or the aspects or period of a game when this obtains.

    • a pattern or style of scoring attack: single-wing offense; fast-break offense.

    • offensive effectiveness; ability to score: a total breakdown in offense.

  8. Archaic. injury, harm, or hurt.

Origin of offense

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English offence, offense; in part from Middle French offens, from Latin offēnsus “collision, knock,” equivalent to offend(ere) (see offend) + -tus suffix of verb action; in part from Middle French offense, ultimately from Latin offēnsa, feminine past participle of offendere
  • Also British, of·fence .

synonym study For offense

1, 2. See crime.

Other words for offense

Opposites for offense

Other words from offense

  • self-of·fense, noun

Words Nearby offense Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use offense in a sentence

Other Idioms and Phrases with offense


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.