Definition of offensive in English:

offensive

Line breaks: of¦fen|sive
Pronunciation: /əˈfɛnsɪv
 
/

adjective

  • 2 [attributive] Actively aggressive; attacking: offensive operations against the insurgents
    More example sentences
    • The captain said the unit supported airlift operations and offensive air support operations.
    • It will be the hub of all logistics support for combat forces conducting offensive operations in littoral regions.
    • They are most proud of the fact that they could quickly shift gears from force protection operations to direct offensive combat without missing a beat.
    Synonyms
  • 2.1(Of a weapon) meant for use in attack: he is also accused of possessing an offensive weapon
    More example sentences
    • They do not want other countries in Asia to get any kind of offensive missiles and nuclear weapons.
    • They found 13 firearms and 266 offensive weapons.
    • Since the galley represented by the model in Plates V and VI, was built in 1736, her dominant offensive weapon was a cannon at her bow.
  • 2.2chiefly North American Relating to the team in possession of the ball or puck in a game: Shell was an outstanding offensive tackle during his 15 years with the Raiders
    More example sentences
    • The timeout is given at the first deadball when the team requesting it has offensive possession or on a foul.
    • The Mavericks probably are the most potent offensive team in the game but are criticized for their defense.
    • The offensive team passes the ball from man to man while the defense adjusts and follows the ball.

noun

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  • 1An attacking military campaign: an impending military offensive against the guerrillas
    More example sentences
    • This year under considerable pressure from the army, the president gave the go-ahead for a military offensive against separatist guerillas in Aceh.
    • Planning offensives, like military campaigns or space probes, are given virile, go-get-'em titles.
    • Rebels in the country's oil-rich Niger delta have threatened to attack oil facilities unless the military halts an offensive.
    Synonyms
    attack, assault, onslaught, drive, invasion, push, thrust, charge, sortie, sally, foray, raid, offence, act of war, act of aggression, incursion, blitz, campaign
  • 1.1An organized and forceful campaign to achieve something, typically a political or social end: the need to launch an offensive against crime
    More example sentences
    • In a short period Reebok India has become the market leader; it has even found it necessary to launch an offensive against counterfeiting of its products.
    • A social offensive is being waged in every country against the working class, aimed at clawing back the concessions that were made to avert the socialist threat in an earlier period.
    • First, governments began an offensive against the social welfare conditions they had been obliged to grant to the working class in an earlier period.

Phrases

be on the offensive

Act or be ready to act aggressively: the forces of fascism were very much on the offensive
More example sentences
  • Well, the potential for a different kind of scam has proponents of electronic voting on the offensive.
  • The idea that fundamentalism is on the offensive and threatening to dominate public life is widely held on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • I think the president has also been on the offensive, which I think has certainly helped him.

go on (to) the offensive (or take the offensive)

Take the initiative by beginning to attack or act aggressively: security forces took the offensive ten days ago
More example sentences
  • Earlier he attempted to take the offensive, attacking the media coverage of the whole affair.
  • Security forces have also gone on the offensive.
  • A decisive call on working people to go on the offensive against the social attacks by the government would certainly get a response.
Synonyms
begin to attack, attack first, be aggressive, strike the first blow, start a war/battle/quarrel
informal be on the warpath

Derivatives

offensively

adverb
More example sentences
  • This, by the way, is even before the film spirals from the stupid to the offensively stupid.
  • At the same time, laws relating to legal drugs might become offensively paternalistic if they were taken to an extreme.
  • While their posts were quicker, they were not playmakers and simply could not carry the load offensively.

offensiveness

noun
More example sentences
  • The next day, one of these emailers responded that he thought my reply was disproportionate to the offensiveness of his email; I agreed and apologized for having reacted inappropriately.
  • They shouldn't consider the author's past offensiveness, or the reprehensibleness of the ideas he expresses outside the paper.
  • Whether intentional or not, the racial offensiveness and insensitivity of Summers' remarks and actions must be acknowledged, criticized, and vigorously resisted.

Origin

mid 16th century: from French offensif, -ive or medieval Latin offensivus, from Latin offens- 'struck against', from the verb offendere (see offend).

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