Definition of offense in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈfens/
(British offence)


1A breach of a law or rule; an illegal act: neither offense violates any federal law
More example sentences
  • It held such crimes to be offences against the law of nations, much as was the traditional crime of piracy.
  • It is also clear that the charge of assault against the second applicant is an offence under the criminal law as well as under the Prison Rules.
  • It is the essence of offences against the person that what is done is done unlawfully.
crime, illegal/unlawful act, misdemeanor, breach of the law, felony, wrongdoing, wrong, misdeed, peccadillo, sin, transgression, infringement;
Law  malfeasance
informal no-no
archaic trespass
rare malefaction
1.1A thing that constitutes a violation of what is judged to be right or natural: the outcome is an offense to basic justice
More example sentences
  • The scorning of the tribes is an offense to the natural order in the minds of many there.
  • So abusing the Quran is a hideous offense to Muslims more than the same abuse of a Bible would be to Christians.
  • In those buried and bygone days, it was an affront and an offense to join with separatists to defeat a corrupt government.
affront, slap in the face, insult, outrage, violation, slight
2Annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles: he went out, making it clear he’d taken offense I didn’t intend to give offense
More example sentences
  • Paramilitary flags or slogans and monuments do give offence to visitors and to different sectors of society.
  • ‘The argument then was that to allow this element would give offence to people of other faiths,’ wrote Torrance.
  • Carolingian rule and culture were familiar in many ways; it was its flavour of high-handedness and moral urgency that might give offence to the inhabitants of Italy.
annoyance, anger, resentment, indignation, irritation, exasperation, wrath, displeasure, hard/bad/ill feelings, disgruntlement, pique, vexation, animosity, antipathy
3əˈfensˈäfens The action of attacking: [as modifier]: reductions in strategic offense arsenals
More example sentences
  • The doctor had skipped bail on sex offence charges and Melville nabbed him while on port watch for the Special Branch in Le Havre.
  • On Tuesday a bench warrant was issued for his arrest at Limerick District Court when he failed to appear to face two public order offence charges.
  • She said Seamus was known to police in Middleton and Rochdale and had been due to appear in court to face motor offence charges.
attack, offensive, assault, onslaught, invasion, incursion, foray, sortie
3.1North American (In sports) the team or players who are attempting to score or advance the ball.
Example sentences
  • The rest of the players on offense had to adjust to the change in personality under center.
  • Saban will miss quarterback Matt Mauck and the other playmakers on offense who graduated.
  • That doesn't bode well for a team whose offense is predicated on running with George.
3.2(In sports) the condition of possessing the ball or being on the team attempting to score.
Example sentences
  • Ewen was under no illusions regarding the areas that need work - the speed of ball movement when the team is on the offense and the organisation of offensive play.
  • Amidst strong winds and in front of a large Hamline homecoming crowd, the Scots struggled on offense, turning the ball over five times.
  • Neither team did a good job taking care of the ball on offense as Redbank Valley had three fumbles, lost one and two Jason Smith interceptions.


no offense

informal Do not be offended.
Example sentences
  • He is, however - no offense, Mark - not the most charismatic guy around.
  • Kat, no offense or anything, but how do you think this works?
  • Well, no offense, but if that is the case, then I want my money back.


Late Middle English: from Old French offens 'misdeed', from Latin offensus 'annoyance', reinforced by French offense, from Latin offensa 'a striking against, a hurt, or displeasure'; based on Latin offendere 'strike against'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: of·fense

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