verb (used with object)
- to irritate, annoy, or anger; cause resentful displeasure in: Even the hint of prejudice offends me.
- to affect (the sense, taste, etc.) disagreeably.
- to violate or transgress (a criminal, religious, or moral law).
- to hurt or cause pain to.
- (in Biblical use) to cause to fall into sinful ways.
verb (used without object)
- to cause resentful displeasure; irritate, annoy, or anger: a remark so thoughtless it can only offend.
- to err in conduct; commit a sin, crime, or fault.
- to commit another offence
- to hurt the feelings, sense of dignity, etc, of (a person)
- (tr) to be disagreeable to; disgustthe smell offended him
- (intr except in archaic uses) to break (a law or laws in general)
early 14c., “to sin against (someone),” from Old French ofendre “transgress, antagonize,” and directly from Latin offendere “to hit, strike against,” figuratively “to stumble, commit a fault, displease, trespass against, provoke,” from ob “against” (see ob-) + -fendere “to strike” (found only in compounds; see defend).
Meaning “to violate (a law), to make a moral false step, to commit a crime” is from late 14c. Meaning “to wound the feelings” is from late 14c. The literal sense of “to attack, assail” is attested from late 14c.; this has been lost in Modern English, but is preserved in offense and offensive. Related: Offended; offending.