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offensive

[uh-fen-siv or for 4, 5, aw-fen-, of-en-]
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adjective
  1. causing resentful displeasure; highly irritating, angering, or annoying: offensive television commercials.
  2. unpleasant or disagreeable to the sense: an offensive odor.
  3. repugnant to the moral sense, good taste, or the like; insulting: an offensive remark; an offensive joke.
  4. pertaining to offense or attack: the offensive movements of their troops.
  5. characterized by attack; aggressive: offensive warfare.
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noun
  1. the position or attitude of aggression or attack: to take the offensive.
  2. an aggressive movement or attack: a carefully planned naval offensive.
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Origin of offensive

1540–50; < Medieval Latin offēnsīvus, equivalent to Latin offēns(us) past participle of offendere (see offend) + -īvus -ive
Related formsof·fen·sive·ly, adverbof·fen·sive·ness, nounnon·of·fen·sive, adjectivenon·of·fen·sive·ly, adverbnon·of·fen·sive·ness, nouno·ver·of·fen·sive, adjectiveo·ver·of·fen·sive·ly, adverbo·ver·of·fen·sive·ness, nounpre·of·fen·sive, adjectivepre·of·fen·sive·ly, adverbpre·of·fen·sive·ness, nounqua·si-of·fen·sive, adjectivequa·si-of·fen·sive·ly, adverbsu·per·of·fen·sive, adjective, nounsu·per·of·fen·sive·ly, adverbsu·per·of·fen·sive·ness, nounun·of·fen·sive, adjectiveun·of·fen·sive·ly, adverbun·of·fen·sive·ness, noun

Synonyms for offensive

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1. displeasing, vexatious, vexing, unpleasant. See hateful. 2, 3. distasteful, disgusting, revolting, repellent. 3. repulsive, shocking. 4. invading, attacking.

Usage note

The label 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 for offensive

1, 2. pleasing. 4. defensive.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for unoffensive

controllable, gentle, guiltless, innocent, innocuous, inoffensive, inoperative, kind, manageable, naive, powerless, reliable, safe, sanitary, simple, soft, sound, sure, trustworthy, unobjectionable

Examples from the Web for unoffensive

Historical Examples of unoffensive

  • Meanwhile, they had suddenly dropped their fusils, which immediately resumed their unoffensive position in the shoulder belt.

    The Guide of the Desert

    Gustave Aimard


British Dictionary definitions for unoffensive

offensive

adjective
  1. unpleasant or disgusting, as to the senses
  2. causing anger or annoyance; insulting
  3. for the purpose of attack rather than defence
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noun
  1. the offensive an attitude or position of aggression
  2. an assault, attack, or military initiative, esp a strategic one
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Derived Formsoffensively, adverboffensiveness, noun
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 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.

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offensive

n.

"condition of attacking, aggressive action," 1720, from offensive (adj.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper