Definition of offensive noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əˈfensɪv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈfensɪv//
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  1. 1a military operation in which large numbers of soldiers, etc. attack another country synonym strike an air offensive They launched the offensive on January 10. See related entries: Conflict
  2. 2a series of actions aimed at achieving something in a way that attracts a lot of attention synonym campaign The government has launched a new offensive against crime. a sales offensive The public seems unconvinced by their latest charm offensive (= their attempt to make people like them).
  3. Word Originmid 16th cent.: from French offensif, -ive or medieval Latin offensivus, from Latin offens- ‘struck against’, from the verb offendere ‘strike against’.Extra examples In 1941, Hitler launched an all-out offensive against the Soviet Union. She took the offensive, challenging her critics to prove their allegations. The government is launching an all-out offensive against the drug cartels The politician has launched a charm offensive in an attempt to clean up his image. a military offensive against the insurgents He flew 27 combat missions in the air offensive against Japan. The final offensive was launched in the spring.Idioms to be attacking somebody/something rather than waiting for them to attack you The Scots were on the offensive for most of the game. The government is very much on the offensive in the fight against drugs.
    go on (to) the offensive, take the offensive
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    to start attacking somebody/something before they start attacking you
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: offensive

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