9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[in-uh-fen-siv] /ˌɪn əˈfɛn sɪv/
causing no harm, trouble, or annoyance:
a mild, inoffensive man.
not objectionable, as to the senses:
an inoffensive odor.
Origin of inoffensive
1590-1600; in-3 + offensive
Related forms
inoffensively, adverb
inoffensiveness, noun
1. harmless, innocuous, unoffending. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inoffensive
  • It is interesting to note that many pro-nuclear lobbyists insist on the inoffensive nature of radioactivity.
  • It was a dreary and unsympathetic business at best, and it was surprising that they managed to be as inoffensive as they were.
  • Demonising this one inoffensive chemical compound is downright silly.
  • Overall, the episode handled the onslaught of unnecessary but inoffensive celebrity cameos quite nicely.
  • It is the white bread of condiments, an inoffensive accompaniment to more flavorful fare.
  • To some, preferential voting has the danger of always rewarding the inoffensive.
  • She can see why cattle follow one route without protest but object to another that appears equally inoffensive to the average eye.
  • The negroes were a peaceful, domestic, inoffensive race.
  • Alas, they consider the insurgents inoffensive-or perhaps useful.
  • Patent trolls must be outlawed or made inoffensive by proper legislation protecting the freedom to innovate.
British Dictionary definitions for inoffensive


not giving offence; unobjectionable
not unpleasant, poisonous, or harmful
Derived Forms
inoffensively, adverb
inoffensiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inoffensive

1590s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + offensive. Related: Inoffensively; inoffensiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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