Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “offensive”

See all translations

offensive

adjective uk   /əˈfen.sɪv/ us  

offensive adjective (UPSETTING)

B2 causing offence: This programme contains language that some viewers might find offensive. He told some really offensive sexist jokes.
Opposite
unpleasant: offensive smells
More examples

offensive adjective (ATTACKING)

used for attacking: Since the other side had taken offensive action (= attacked), we had no choice but to defend ourselves. Knives of any sort are classed as offensive weapons.
offensively
adverb uk   /-li/ us  
offensiveness
noun [U] uk   /-nəs/ us  

offensive

noun [C] uk   /əˈfen.sɪv/ us  
a planned military attack: They launched the land offensive in the middle of the night. UN troops have gone on the offensive (= started to attack).take the offensive to attack first
(Definition of offensive from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of offensive?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

More meanings of “offensive”

Definitions of “offensive” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More