v. of·fend·ed, of·fend·ing, of·fends
1. To cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in: We were offended by his tasteless jokes.
2. To be displeasing or disagreeable to: Onions offend my sense of smell.
1. To result in displeasure: Bad manners may offend.
a. To violate a moral or divine law; sin.
b. To violate a rule or law: offended against the curfew.
[Middle English offenden, from Old French offendre, from Latin offendere; see gwhen- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: offend, insult, affront, outrage
These verbs mean to cause resentment, humiliation, or hurt. To offend is to cause displeasure, wounded feelings, or repugnance in another: "He often offended men who might have been useful friends" (John Lothrop Motley).
Insult implies gross insensitivity, insolence, or contemptuous rudeness: "My father had insulted her by refusing to come to our wedding" (James Carroll).
To affront is to insult openly, usually intentionally: "He continued to belabor the poor woman in a studied effort to affront his hated chieftain" (Edgar Rice Burroughs).
Outrage implies the flagrant violation of a person's integrity, pride, or sense of right and decency: "He revered the men and women who transformed this piece of grassland into a great city, and he was outraged by the attacks on their reputation" (James S. Hirsch).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.