Did you know?

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

offence - 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.

Thesaurus diagram

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     offence pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment
    criminal offence:

    Killing these animals is a criminal offence.

    minor offence:

    minor offences such as vandalism

    commit an offence:

    She had committed no offence under military law.

    convict someone of an offence:

    Walker was convicted of a similar offence in 1997.

    first/second etc offence:

    The usual fine is £15 to £100 for a first offence.

    be charged with an offence:

    Those arrested have been charged with public order offences.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] the feeling of being angry, upset, or insulted, caused by something that someone says or does
    cause/give offence:

    complaints about advertisements that cause offence

  3. 3
    [countable] something that makes you feel angry and upset because it is insulting, unfair, or morally wrong
    offence to:

    a building that is an offence to good taste

  4. 4
    [uncountable] formal the process of attacking someone or something

    weapons of offence



to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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