offensive Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “offensive” in the English Dictionary

"offensive" in British English

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offensiveadjective

uk   /əˈfen.sɪv/  us   /əˈfen.sɪv/
  • offensive adjective (UPSETTING)

B2 causingoffence: This ​programmecontainslanguage that some ​viewers might ​find offensive. He told some really offensive ​sexistjokes.
Opposite
unpleasant: offensive ​smells

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offensively
adverb uk   /əˈfen.sɪv.li/  us   /əˈfen.sɪv.li/
offensiveness
noun [U] uk   /əˈfen.sɪv.nəs/  us   /əˈfen.sɪv.nəs/

offensivenoun [C]

uk   /əˈfen.sɪv/  us   /əˈfen.sɪv/
a ​plannedmilitaryattack: 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 Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"offensive" in American English

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offensivenoun [C]

 us   /əˈfen·sɪv/
  • offensive noun [C] (MILITARY ATTACK)

a ​plannedmilitaryattack: They ​launched the ​land offensive in the ​middle of the ​night.

offensiveadjective

 us   /əˈfen·sɪv/
  • offensive adjective (OF A MILITARY ATTACK)

relating to or being a ​plannedmilitaryattack: an offensive ​action
  • offensive adjective (OF BAD FEELINGS)

causing someone to be ​upset or to have ​hurtfeelings: offensive ​comments/​jokes
Offensive can be used more ​generally to ​meanunpleasant: an offensive ​odor
(Definition of offensive from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"offensive" in Business English

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offensiveadjective

uk   us   /əˈfensɪv/
causing someone to ​feel upset and angry, often because of being rude: offensive to sb His comments were ​highly offensive to women. The ​channelran a ​series of grossly offensive ​advertisements.
(Definition of offensive from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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