Definition of offend in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈfend/


1 [with object] Cause to feel upset, annoyed, or resentful: viewers said they had been offended by bad language
More example sentences
  • We too have strong convictions, we too can be offended, insulted and annoyed, and we have to say we're not going to put up with it.
  • If it was any other person, I would have been offended and annoyed that someone should try and exert such force over me.
  • I appreciate that this is a very emotive and difficult subject to discuss openly, and I therefore apologise unreservedly if any part of my opinion has upset or offended you.
hurt someone's feelings, give offense to, affront, displease, upset, distress, hurt, wound;
annoy, anger, exasperate, irritate, vex, pique, gall, irk, nettle, ruffle someone's feathers, tread on someone's toes;
rub the wrong way
informal rile, rattle, peeve, needle, miff, put someone's nose out of joint, put someone's back up
vulgar slang piss off
1.1Be displeasing to: he didn’t smoke and the smell of ash offended him (as adjective offending) they must redesign the offending section of road
More example sentences
  • Food allergies are untreatable, and people with these allergies must avoid offending foods, which can be impossible.
  • Call me rigidly European, but it offends my sense of food order.
  • He concluded that 52 per cent of sufferers had reported a significant reduction of their symptoms after changing their diet to remove offending foods from their diets.
displease, be distasteful to, be disagreeable to, be offensive to, disgust, repel, revolt, sicken, nauseate, be repugnant to
informal turn off, gross out
2 [no object] Commit an illegal act: a small hard core of young criminals who offend again and again
More example sentences
  • I'm very confident that we are making a big difference these days into the lives of young people who are likely to commit crimes and to offend.
  • In many cases where young boys sexually offend there was a family history of emotional, sexual and physical abuse.
  • The project has been introduced to help police solve crimes and deter criminals from further offending.
break the law, commit a crime, do wrong, sin, go astray, transgress
archaic trespass
2.1Break a commonly accepted rule or principle: those activities which offend against public order and decency
More example sentences
  • They are laws which offend against the principle of autonomy and they are laws which place both doctors and patients at risk.
  • There are occasions when closed courts can be justified, although they offend against the principle that justice must be seen to be done.
  • Evidence so admitted does not offend against the general rule.


Late Middle English: from Old French offendre, from Latin offendere 'strike against'.

Words that rhyme with offend

amend, append, apprehend, ascend, attend, befriend, bend, blend, blende, commend, comprehend, condescend, contend, defriend, depend, emend, end, expend, extend, fend, forfend, friend, impend, interdepend, lend, mend, misapprehend, misspend, on-trend, Oostende, Ostend, perpend, portend, rend, reprehend, scrag-end, send, spend, subtend, suspend, tail end, tend, transcend, trend, underspend, unfriend, upend, vend, weekend, wend

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: of·fend

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