It is clear from experience of living in the world, that sometimes the things we say may imply something to someone else that we did not intend it to.

A seemingly harmless comment or even compliment could have different effects on different listeners depending on their personal circumstances, beliefs, etc.
For example - "I wish I could be as skinny as you!" could brighten up the day of a recovering obesity patient, or ruin that of a recovering anorexic.

Or "Oh my God!" may be be considered offensive by a devout christian, but a perfectly innocent exclamation of surprise to another person.

The speaker did not intend any offense, and perhaps is not even aware of the listener's personal circumstances or beliefs at all, but the listener may still be offended or at least find the comment insensitive.

More examples of what I mean can be found here.

But is there a word to describe the process of a listener taking unintended offence at a comment?

Other than 'Taking offence' , obviously.

1 Answer 1


Be warned, this isn't a common word

umbrageous, [dictionary.com]

apt to take offense.

derived from umbrage [OED]

take ˈumbrage (at something)

(formal or humorous) to feel offended, insulted or upset by something, often without a good reason

Common words to describe people easily offended (for valid or invalid reasons) include touchy, sensitive, and thin-skinned.

  • Good word! Just what I was looking for.
    – user98041
    May 7, 2015 at 9:25
  • 1
    And there is a superlative, hypersensitive. May 7, 2015 at 10:06

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