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 causing offence: This programme contains language that some viewers might find offensive. He told some really offensive sexist jokes.
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 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 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 planned military attack: 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 planned military attack: an offensive action
  • offensive adjective (OF BAD FEELINGS)

causing someone to be upset or to have hurt feelings: offensive comments/jokes
Offensive can be used more generally to mean unpleasant: 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   /əˈfensɪv/ us  
causing someone to feel upset and angry, often because of being rude: offensive to sb His comments were highly offensive to women. The channel ran a series of grossly offensive advertisements.
(Definition of offensive from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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