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From Middle French offendre, from Latin offendō (strike, blunder, commit an offense), from ob- (against) + *fendō (strike).


  • IPA(key): /əˈfɛnd/
    • (file)
  • Hyphenation: of‧fend
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd


offend (third-person singular simple present offends, present participle offending, simple past and past participle offended)

  1. (transitive) To hurt the feelings of; to displease; to make angry; to insult.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:offend
    Your accusations offend me deeply.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 6, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      [] I remember a lady coming to inspect St. Mary's Home where I was brought up and seeing us all in our lovely Elizabethan uniforms we were so proud of, and bursting into tears all over us because “it was wicked to dress us like charity children”. We nearly crowned her we were so offended. She saw us but she didn't know us, did she?’.
    • 1995 September, “The Playboy Interview: Cindy Crawford”, in Playboy:
      One day my girlfriend, her boyfriend and I were sunbathing topless because that's Barbados - you can wear nothing if you want. And the Pepsi guy walks up and with my agent to meet us for lunch. I wondered if I should put on my top because I have a business relationship with him. I didn't want him to get offended because the rest of the beach had seen me with my top off.
  2. (intransitive) To feel or become offended; to take insult.
    Don't worry. I don't offend easily.
  3. (transitive) To physically harm, pain.
    Strong light offends the eye.
    • c. 1527–1542, Thomas Wyatt, “Som fowles there be that have so perfaict ſight”, in Egerton MS 2711[1], page 19v:
      Som fowles there be that have so perfaict ſight
      Agayn the Sonne their Iyes for to defend
      And ſom bicauſe the light doeth theim offend
      Do never pere but in the darke or nyght
  4. (transitive) To annoy, cause discomfort or resent.
    Physically enjoyable frivolity can still offend the conscience
  5. (intransitive) To sin, transgress divine law or moral rules.
    • 1638, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Cure of Deſpaire by Phyſick, good counſell, comforts, &c.”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy. [], 5th edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed [by Robert Young, Miles Flesher, and Leonard Lichfield and William Turner] for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition 3, section 4, member 3, subsection 6, page 707:
      I dailie and hourelie offend in thought, word, and deed, in a relapſe by mine owne weakneſſe and wilfulneſſe, my bonus Genius, my good protecting angel is gone, I am falne from that I was, or would bee, worſe and worſe, []
  6. (transitive) To transgress or violate a law or moral requirement.
  7. (obsolete, transitive, archaic, biblical) To cause to stumble; to cause to sin or to fall.
    • 1896, Adolphus Frederick Schauffler, Select Notes on the International Sunday School Lessons, W. A. Wilde company, page 161:
      "If any man offend not (stumbles not, is not tripped up) in word, the same is a perfect man."
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Matthew 5:29:
      "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out."
      Sermon on the Mount

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