1540s, "used in attack, attacking;" 1570s, "insulting, causing or giving displeasure," from French offensif (16c.) and directly from Medieval Latin offensivus, from Latin offens-, past-participle stem of offendere "offend" (see offend). Sense of "disgusting, disagreeable" (of odors, taste, etc.) is from 1590s. Related: Offensively; offensiveness.
1720, the offensive, "condition of attacking, an aggressive action or course," from offensive (adj.). Military sense of "forceful action toward a particular end" is by 1918, from World War I.
early 14c., offenden, "to disobey or sin against (a person, human or divine)," a sense now obsolete, from Old French ofendre "hit, attack, injure; sin against; antagonize, excite to anger" and directly from Latin offendere "to hit, thrust, or strike against," figuratively "to stumble, commit a fault, displease, trespass against, provoke," from assimilated form of ob "in front of against" (see ob-) + -fendere "to strike" (found only in compounds; see defend).
Meaning "to violate (a law), to make a moral false step, to commit a crime" is from late 14c. Meaning "to wound the feelings of, displease, give displeasure to, excite personal annoyance or resentment in" is from late 14c. The literal sense of "to attack, assail" (late 14c.) is obsolete, but it is somewhat preserved in offense and offensive. Related: Offended; offending; offendedness.
mid-13c., "strong offensive odor," from stink (v.). Sense of "extensive fuss" is attested by 1812.