take the offensive

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take the offensive

To begin attacking someone or adopting an aggressive attitude or position as a means of gaining a pre-emptive advantage. If you don't take the offensive as soon as the debate starts, your opponent is going to walk all over you! Every time Mike and I start to fight, he immediately takes the offensive and won't listen to my side of things.
See also: offensive, take
References in periodicals archive ?
Even when the British took the offensive in 1814, their campaigns were not designed to undermine American independence but to win territory that might be used to bargain for greater security for their North American provinces and their Indian allies.
Under Grant's direction, federal armies in Georgia and Virginia took the offensive in May 1864 in pursuit of victories that would bring the rebellion to an end or at least bolster confidence in Lincoln's management of the war sufficiently to secure his reelection.
Stockton again took the offensive and Walls was fed the ball through the middle of the park.
Leopold I then took the offensive, and for the next quarter century Habsburg forces enjoyed victory after victory.
Hip-hop mogul Combs took the offensive himself, accusing the newspaper of lying in its online report of the Shakur attack.
Mr Obama then took the offensive against Mrs Clinton, targeting her claims that she is more experienced in handling foreign policy.
He decided not to wait for a pauper's grave but took the offensive.
So Public Storage took the offensive and targeted Shurgard shareholders in a conference call with Wall Street analysts.
In early 2000 CanOxy took the offensive and won the battle by getting Oxy to agree to sell the 29% equity in the Canadian company.
They took the offensive, wading into crowds and driving after the demonstrators.