Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “offensive”

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

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

wave

to raise your hand and move it from side to side as a way of greeting someone, telling someone to do something, or adding emphasis to an expression

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More