a. Causing anger, displeasure, or resentment: an offensive gesture.
b. Disagreeable to the senses: an offensive odor.
a. Making a physical or military attack: The offensive troops gained ground quickly.
b. Of, relating to, or designed for attack: offensive weapons.
3. (ŏfĕn-) Sports Of or relating to a team having possession of a ball or puck: an offensive rush.
1. An attitude or position of attack: go on the offensive in chess.
2. A physical or military attack or assault: led a massive military offensive.
Synonyms: offensive, disgusting, loathsome, nasty, odious, repellent, repulsive, revolting, vile
These adjectives mean extremely unpleasant to the senses or feelings: an offensive remark; disgusting language; a loathsome disease; a nasty smell; an odious sight; a repellent demand; repulsive behavior; revolting food; vile thoughts. See Also Synonyms at hateful.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.