Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

offense - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun offense pronunciation in American English /əˈfens/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [countable] a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment

    a traffic/drug/sex offense

    first/second etc. offense:

    The usual fine is $15 to $100 for a first offense.

    minor offense:

    Four people were arrested on minor offenses.

    criminal offense:

    Killing these animals has been made a criminal offense.

    capital offense (=a crime for which someone can be killed):

    They argued that since the victim was an officer, the criminal should be charged with a capital offense.

    commit an offense:

    He has committed a very serious offense.

    charge someone with an offense:

    The new ruling only applies to suspects who have been charged with an offense.

    convict someone of an offense:

    Walker was convicted of a similar offense in 1987.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] something that you do or say which makes someone else angry or upset
    cause/give offense:

    commercials that cause offense

  3. 3
     offense pronunciation in American English /ˈɑˌfens/ [uncountable] the part of a game such as football that involves trying to score points

    They’re a team that has always been stronger on offense.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] the members of a team in a game such as football whose job is to try to score points
  4. 4
    [countable] something that makes you feel angry and upset because it is insulting, unfair, or morally wrong
    offense to:

    a performance that is an offense to good taste

  5. 5
    [uncountable] formal the process of attacking someone or something

    weapons of offense


sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play