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A crime, misdeed, or impropriety that is (hyperbolically) perceived to warrant death by hanging. Primarily heard in US. Political correctness has become so authoritarian these days that saying anything with even the slightest derogatory implication is seen as a hanging offense!
give offense to
To cause tension or displeasure. I tried to choose my words carefully, but, due to the controversial subject matter, I feared that I would give offense to the committee no matter what I said.
the best defense is a good offense
Proactively attacking one's opponents or enemies is the best way to protect oneself, since they will be occupied with defending themselves, rather than attacking. They have a lot of scoring power, so we need to attack the goal early and wear them out. The best defense is a good offense, girls.
take offense (at) (something)
To be or feel insulted, offended, or humiliated by something. I know your comments were made completely in jest, but I couldn't help taking offense at them. I noticed your parents leaving early. I do hope they haven't taken offense.
What I have said or am about to say is not meant to offend or insult you, even though it could be interpreted that way. No offense, but I think it may be time you cleaned up your kitchen. All I'm saying is that I think we could use some more help with the renovation. No offense, John, you've been a big help.
See also: offense
best defense is a good offense
Prov. If you attack your opponents, they will be so busy fighting off your attack that they will not be able to attack you. (Often associated with sports. Often pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, similar to offense.) The team mostly practiced offensive moves because the coach believed that the best defense is a good offense. Jim thought that the best defense is a good offense, so he always tried to pass other drivers before they could pass him.
mean no offense
not to intend to offend. (See also take no offense.) I'm really sorry. I meant no offense. It was simply a slip of the tongue. He meant no offense by it.
No offense meant.
I did not mean to offend [you]. (See also No offense taken.) Mary: Excuse that last remark. No offense meant. Susan: It's okay. I was not offended.
No offense taken.
I am not offended [by what you said]. (See also No offense meant.) Pete: Excuse that last remark. I did not want to offend you. Tom: It's okay. No offense taken.
take offense (at someone or something)
to be insulted by someone or something. Bill took offense at Mary for her thoughtless remarks. Almost everyone took offense at Bill's new book. I'm sorry you took offense. I meant no harm.
Please don't feel insulted, I don't mean to offend you, as in No offense, but I think you're mistaken. This expression, first recorded in 1829, generally accompanies a statement that could be regarded as insulting but is not meant to be, as in the example.
See also: offense
Feel resentment or emotional pain, as in I didn't realize he'd take offense when he wasn't invited. [Mid-1800s]