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 ?
After weeks of plummeting public support for his handling of postwar Iraq, President Bush took the offensive last month.
Seeing the indictment coming, Scrushy took the offensive.
FROM accused to accuser, Slobodan Milosevic took the offensive at his war crimes trial in The Hague yesterday, charging that the West tried to bomb Yugoslavia back to the Stone Age and were staging a political trial against him.
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC took the offensive at his war crimes trial yesterday, charging that the West tried to bomb Yugoslavia back to the Stone Age and were staging a political trial against him.
The recent controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food has played on consumer ignorance of the facts, Shimoda explains, "Activists, led by Greenpeace, who are concerned about the environmental and food safety issues tied to GMOs, took the offensive in terms of creating uncertainty, not proof, but uncertainty over the safety of this new technology.
Roy Gutman, in A Witness to Genocide, describes how "paramilitary forces organized in Serbia began the offensive by launching military attacks on cities in eastern Slavonia, but after it was clear that no outside power would intervene, the [Serb dominated Yugoslav] army took the offensive in August.
In response, many large firms took the offensive by establishing creative defenses.