Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Disagreeable to the senses: an offensive odor.
  • adj. Causing anger, displeasure, resentment, or affront: an offensive gesture.
  • adj. Making an attack: The offensive troops gained ground quickly.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or designed for attack: offensive weapons.
  • adj. Sports Of or relating to a team having possession of a ball or puck: the offensive line.
  • n. An attitude or position of attack: go on the offensive in chess.
  • n. An attack or assault: led a massive military offensive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Causing offense; arousing a visceral reaction of disgust, anger, or hatred.
  • adj. Relating to an offense or attack, as opposed to defensive.
  • adj. Having to do with play directed at scoring.
  • n. An attack.
  • n. The posture of attacking or being able to attack.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Giving offense; causing displeasure or resentment; displeasing; annoying.
  • adj. Giving pain or unpleasant sensations; disagreeable; revolting; noxious
  • adj. Making the first attack; assailant; aggressive; hence, used in attacking; -- opposed to defensive
  • n. The state or posture of one who offends or makes attack; aggressive attitude; the act of the attacking party; -- opposed to defensive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Serving to offend, assail, or attack; used in attack: opposed to defensive: as, offensive weapons.
  • Consisting in or proceeding by attack; assailant; invading; aggressive: opposed to defensive.
  • Serving to injure; injurious.
  • Causing or giving offense; fitted or intended to offend or give displeasure; provocative of displeasure; insulting; annoying; displeasing: as, an offensive remark; offensive behavior.
  • Disgusting; disagreeable; giving pain or unpleasant sensations: as, an offensive smell.
  • n. With the definite article: An aggressive attitude or course of operations; a posture of attack: as, to act on or assume the offensive.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. violating or tending to violate or offend against
  • adj. unpleasant or disgusting especially to the senses
  • adj. causing anger or annoyance
  • adj. causing or able to cause nausea
  • adj. morally offensive
  • adj. for the purpose of attack rather than defense
  • adj. substitute a harsher or distasteful term for a mild one
  • n. the action of attacking an enemy

Etymologies

From French offensif, from Latin as if *offensivus, from offendereĀ ("to offend"), past participle offensus; see offend. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • In some cultures, it's offensive to take pictures of people without their permission.

    May 20, 2009