Definition of off in English:



  • 1Away from the place in question; to or at a distance.

    ‘the man ran off’
    ‘she dashed off to her room’
    ‘we must be off now’
    • ‘I wandered off into the changing room and changed into my spare uniform.’
    • ‘A policewoman told a jury how she ran after a driver who sped off as she was questioning him.’
    • ‘Take your children for a drive following that route, so they know where to get on and off.’
    • ‘The train stayed full with people getting off and on all the way although I didn't see standees.’
    • ‘Ali saw some birds diving in the distance so off we went at high speed to fish that spot.’
    • ‘As the carriage turned to head up to the main entrance, Jak grabbed her waist and jumped off.’
    • ‘The lake was on our left, stretching off into the distance and covered by a heavy haze.’
    • ‘He exited the court room immediately, walking off to the jubilation of the watching fans.’
    • ‘The song finishes and we say a few more individual goodnights and head off to our room.’
    • ‘Terrified, Mr Austin did as he was told and then called the police after seeing his car speed off into the distance.’
    • ‘Closing the distance between us she veered off to my left and stood beside me, facing in the opposite direction.’
    • ‘I was good about not taking a lot of time on my sites this morning, but now I must be off.’
    • ‘I wandered off into the sitting room and came back with a great pile of CDs.’
    • ‘Along the shoreline not far off, people dip-netted for hooligan, an oily spring fish.’
    • ‘Then there was the attractive man across the seat who kept staring off into the distance.’
    • ‘They crouched in the distance then lolloped off, not into the woods, but over bare ground to the horizon.’
    • ‘She shoos me out of her nice clean treatment room and I totter off feeling not exactly relaxed.’
    • ‘A thought suddenly glimmers in his eye - he gets up and hurries off to his room, beckoning after me.’
    • ‘By 6pm that evening the ship had sailed off into the distance to meet its fateful end.’
    • ‘The distances involved in the US make it hard to rush off to a weekend tournament.’
    away, to a distance, from here, from there
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Away from the main route.
      ‘turn off for Ripon’
      • ‘The path veers off to the right to bring you to the summit of Hindscarth, marked with a large cairn.’
      • ‘The dive centre is off to the left as you enter the main part of the village.’
      • ‘Police then chased the van which drove in the direction of Newbridge before turning off for the race-course.’
      • ‘Traffic is a nightmare by about 4pm for a few hours and there is only one route off.’
      • ‘The branch line can be mapped as a line running next to the main line until the location where they split off.’
      • ‘You can either go down the well-trodden route or detour off onto another track.’
  • 2So as to be removed or separated.

    ‘he whipped off his coat’
    ‘a section of the runway had been cordoned off’
    • ‘The main display area and the balcony have been closed off since last summer.’
    • ‘The site was cordoned off and US military officials removed top secret equipment.’
    • ‘It is expected that some routes will be cordoned off to motorists and members of the public.’
    • ‘They placed her in the recovery position and took her coat off, using their own clothes to keep her warm.’
    • ‘The second-floor room was sealed off as officers carried out a detailed search.’
    • ‘Cut these off to the main stem, even if you have to dig away some soil to get to them.’
    • ‘Then as the day went on, I'd cross things off when I'd done them and add new items to the bottom.’
    • ‘It matters not whether the brandy ignites, but the alcohol must be boiled off.’
    • ‘The US military said the main road had now been completely sealed off.’
    • ‘If they must graze on the hillside, the reservoir must be fenced off to keep them at a safe distance.’
    • ‘Up to a third of the university's 1,800 rooms could be sold off as part of the plan.’
    • ‘The march route is being blocked off and motorists in the area could be delayed for some time.’
    • ‘The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to remove as much fat from the diet as possible.’
    • ‘Parts of the area were fenced off for weeks while Wessex Water laid the main.’
    • ‘The bed would usually be screened off from the main hall by a curtain, often embroidered.’
    • ‘This is because to lose weight and keep it off, you must adjust what and how you eat permanently.’
    • ‘It is next to a set of doors and screened off from the main carriage - without seats for companions.’
    • ‘By the way why is the play park for kids built near a busy main road and not even fenced off?’
    • ‘It's a little swollen now, but I can still get the ring off and on without any problem.’
    • ‘But recently the route has suffered erosion and has been closed off from use for all but one day a month.’
    1. 2.1 Absent; away from work.
      ‘take a day off’
      ‘he is off on sick leave’
      • ‘In some jobs, and this is one of them, there is no such thing as a day off, or a night off, or a holiday without interruption.’
      • ‘When I had my daughter, I took over a year off from medical school to be with her.’
      • ‘Fingers crossed that I get Tuesdays off and I could race home for Monday night games.’
      • ‘I'm off for the next week and a bit - eight days in Berlin with some old chums who are touring the continent as we speak.’
      • ‘Because I am still off sick I feel duty bound to stay indoors all day and do nothing.’
      • ‘We'll take a week off as soon as the route is announced and drive it all the way.’
      • ‘What will they do with their children all week long when swimming is out of the question until dad is off at the weekend.’
      • ‘I just spent a very invigorating half hour talking to the boss about some time off for you.’
      • ‘However her health was not good enough to allow this and she was forced to take another year off on sick leave.’
      away, absent, out, unavailable, not working, not at work, off duty, on holiday, on leave, free, at leisure, idle
      View synonyms
  • 3Starting a journey or race; leaving.

    ‘we're off on holiday tomorrow’
    ‘the gunmen made off on foot’
    ‘they're off!’
    • ‘They'd get to the station and they'd be off on their journey to a new world, she couldn't wait.’
    • ‘When you shut the latch of your front door and head off to a race, you do so with a different mindset that sets the tone for the weekend.’
    • ‘On a day trip to Dublin today, and off to Prague tomorrow morning for the bank holiday.’
    • ‘After today's race Tergat is off to America to collect an honorary degree from a New York university.’
    • ‘War is declared at about the same time as Inman's love for Ada and he must march off to battle.’
    • ‘The teenager had waited with a female friend at a bus stop before heading off on the short journey home.’
    • ‘He will now be jetting off on a luxury holiday to Ibiza thanks to the Child of Achievement charity.’
    • ‘Once my sleigh is packed and ready to go, I'll be off on my journey around the world.’
    • ‘I leave again tonight for some more stuff in New York, then off to the Texas race.’
    • ‘I'd also rather like her to be working properly again by the time I go off on holiday.’
    • ‘If you are one of the many people who are booked to go off on holiday in the next few weeks you may be asking yourself this question.’
    • ‘With the interview over, Riddle announces he will be off on holiday with his family.’
    • ‘Then she flew off for a three-week holiday in the sun with her husband and younger child.’
    • ‘School time is for learning, it's not for swanning off on cheap holidays to catch some winter sun.’
    • ‘It feels like a betrayal to be flying off on holiday when there are so many problems to deal with.’
    • ‘If, like me, you are off on a driving holiday this year, make a selection of tapes to take with you.’
    • ‘We try to grab a bit of toast or something, and we are off to the races.’
    • ‘It is wonderful to have a convenient airport from which to jet off on holiday or on business.’
    • ‘Midwives from Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust are off on a research journey to China.’
    • ‘He is off on his holidays to Kerry this week and is taking a book he says he is really looking forward to reading.’
  • 4So as to bring to an end or be discontinued.

    ‘the Christmas party rounded off a hugely successful year’
    ‘she broke off her reading to look at her husband’
    • ‘A perfect day was rounded off with a viewing of a restored print of Citizen Kane in one of the centre's cinemas.’
    • ‘The event was rounded off with a party in a barn for the hundreds of YFC members.’
    • ‘The weekend was rounded off nicely with some good news from the doctor on Monday.’
    • ‘We started kissing, then after some time we broke off and just held each other.’
    • ‘The show is rounded off by the reader auctioning a copy of The Phone Book he or she has signed.’
    • ‘The day was rounded off by a disco at Pitsea Leisure Centre for all the participants in the carnival.’
    • ‘You only receive free credit if you clear the debt off in full at the end of the month.’
    • ‘Talks between the two sides broke off in May.’
    • ‘The day was rounded off with a tour of the formal rooms and the visitors' centre.’
    • ‘Shrek 2 opens where the first film left off, with Shrek and Fiona on their honeymoon.’
    • ‘The festival will be rounded off on Sunday with a free and easy all-in open session.’
    • ‘The party was a resounding success, topped off by Nobby Clark walking the plank into Bangor harbour.’
    • ‘Muir's second try was rounded off by James Reilly, who had supplied all of the rest of the points by way of his boot.’
    • ‘That won't last, though, since there is now no excuse for us not getting the room finished off.’
    • ‘‘It can't be,’ said Carl, his voice trailing off.’
    • ‘The volume is rounded off by an admirably comprehensive bibliography and a useful index.’
    • ‘The day is finished off with a bit of fun, doing short downhill routes and skills sections with jumps and so on in the fun park.’
    1. 4.1 Cancelled.
      ‘tell them the wedding's off’
      • ‘The journey is called off, replanned for some other time. Today was one of those days.’
      • ‘He told me the game was off because the goalposts had been vandalised and the pitch was unplayable.’
      • ‘Apparently, there had been an announcement on a local radio station saying the event was off.’
      • ‘Last year the race had to be called off because of the foot and mouth crisis.’
      • ‘She returned the money when, on the day of the ceremony, the wedding was called off.’
      • ‘He thinks he will have to tell Stuart to call the wedding off because Sindi is dodgy.’
      • ‘Dave said visitors to the Royal Oak will have to make do with a pint only - the menu is definitely off.’
      • ‘While some high profile projects have been killed off, in the main the government has no idea how to replace them.’
      cancelled, postponed, called off, abandoned, shelved
      View synonyms
    2. 4.2British informal (of an item on a menu) temporarily unavailable.
      ‘strawberries are off’
      • ‘Give us fruit, cheese, or just tell us dessert is off, but spare us monstrosities like ‘tartufo’, a ball of synthetic vanilla ice cream in a saccharine-sweet meringue jacket.’
      • ‘For starters, I went for deep-fried lobster tails, only to be told the lobster was off.’
      unavailable, unobtainable, finished, sold out
      View synonyms
  • 5(of an electrical appliance or power supply) not functioning or so as to cease to function.

    ‘switch the TV off’
    ‘the electricity was off for four days’
    • ‘I've heard that leaving a light on for a given length of time may use less energy than turning it off and on again.’
    • ‘Several weeks after the completion of his work the office lights would go off and on intermittently.’
    • ‘You can leave the lights off and not worry about being spotted through the window.’
    • ‘His nephew, on being unable to turn the computer off, decided to pull the plug out of the mains.’
    • ‘The tape player sat on the floor of my bedsit in Bromley, and I used to turn it on and off with my foot.’
    • ‘The light technician turns the lights off and on to the rhythm of the music.’
    • ‘So many people seem to enjoy saying that they sit with the lights off and don't answer the door on Halloween.’
    • ‘Chris ran back and shut the lights off in the truck since they wouldn't be required.’
    • ‘When I switch the engine off and on and activate the wiper lever they restart - although this is of little help on the motorway.’
    • ‘He had watched lights go on and off in the tower during the next couple of hours.’
    • ‘In order to repair the cable and make it safe we had to turn the power off.’
    • ‘He beamed and waved back then he closed his window and turned his lights off.’
    • ‘She was grateful that she had found some candles, because the power had been flickering off and on.’
    • ‘He was trying to clear a jam, but failed to switch the power off before doing so.’
    • ‘I also make sure that I turn the charger plug off at the mains when it's not actually charging the laptop.’
    • ‘As seen here, however, often the best strategy is to turn the pacemaker off or to remove it altogether.’
    • ‘If this happens again, I might have to employ my Halloween night trick of staying in with the lights off.’
    • ‘Back in the room, John lit one of the smaller lamps and left the rest of the lights off.’
    • ‘Speakers would cut out at random, and would only come back on when I turned the amp off and on again, or turned it up to full volume.’
    • ‘The lights flash off and on, and the phones are cut as guards try to get people moving out of the room for the next set of visitors.’
  • 6Having access to or possession of material goods or wealth to the extent specified.

    ‘we'd been rather badly off for books’
    ‘how are you off for money?’
    • ‘And with rises in council tax and other bills, I'm actually going to be worse off next April.’
    • ‘I went over and he said, ‘How are you off for grub?’’
    • ‘He found that the company was not nearly as badly off as he had initially thought.’
    • ‘Arthur's a lot better off than half the population - he's got a home and a steady job.’
  • 7British (with preceding numeral) denoting a quantity produced at one time.

    • ‘Kienzle printers: 6 off, surplus to manufacturing requirements.’


  • 1Moving away and often down from.

    ‘he rolled off the bed’
    ‘the coat slipped off his arms’
    ‘trying to get us off the stage’
    • ‘The guards crossed the room to her and one jerked her arms, dragging her off the bed.’
    • ‘The essence of the message to both young and older children is - stay off the line, it is a dangerous place.’
    • ‘He was playing the part of a stranded climber, injured in a fall and dangling perilously off the rock face.’
    • ‘On Tuesday evening, a plane managed to slide off the runway and sink axle-deep in the mud.’
    • ‘As I watch, it slips off the edge and rolls down the slope into a thicket of thorny bushes.’
    • ‘It looks like Drey had just been playing a game, jumping off bunk beds, when he suffered fatal injuries.’
    • ‘Like a true Brit, I hold on to summer until the last leaves have fallen off the trees.’
    • ‘He had coincidentally just fallen off his seat, so after an amazing start we were in quite some disarray.’
    • ‘Before I can even process what day it is, I hop off my bed and head for the broom every morning.’
    • ‘At times, it looked as if she would fall but she quickly caught himself and made her way off the stage.’
    • ‘I keep a waste paper bin next to the chair I sit on so I had visions of it having bounced off the arm of the chair and into the bin.’
    • ‘She grinned and disappeared off the main deck and appeared standing on the beach on the little island.’
    • ‘I took everything off my bed, which had been my storage place, and put my sheets in to be washed.’
    • ‘His men were given the task of moving swiftly off the beach and joining up with the paratroopers who had landed inland.’
    • ‘And then at the end of their set, they walk off the stage only to come back a minute later.’
    • ‘We also managed to get a few photos of the stars themselves on and off the stage.’
    • ‘Hey, I'd be the first one to come down off the stage and throw a punch if that were to happen.’
    • ‘I didn't mean to push her off the bed but it just so happened that she fell to the floor.’
    • ‘She folded her arms and Kev reluctantly jumped down off the stage so he didn't have to yell all the way across the room.’
    • ‘The manager had hardly stepped off the plane on his return before being told his services were no longer required.’
  • 2Situated or leading in a direction away from (a main route or intersection)

    ‘single wires leading off the main lines’
    ‘in a little street off Whitehall’
    • ‘This was the second application for the vicarage, situated off Skipton Road and Haw Grove.’
    • ‘The development will be located in the centre of the town off the main Limerick to Galway road.’
    • ‘The business people on and off Main Street have put in a huge contribution in the past three years.’
    • ‘Situated just off Filey's main thoroughfare, this proved to be a busy venue.’
    • ‘After leading them through the back streets off Burtonstone Lane, he escaped on foot.’
    • ‘The hotel is situated just off the A9, north of Ballinluig and south of Pitlochry.’
    • ‘The spate of incidents have taken place over the last few days at Dovercourt Cemetery, off Main Road.’
    • ‘The new pool in the Gorbals is off the main bus route and, in any case, the ladies are not allowed to book it.’
    • ‘Unity Day will be held at Hyde Park, situated off Hyde Park Road and Moorhouse Lane.’
    • ‘She will shout at him and then he will take her for a drink in some shady bar off the main street and fall in love with her.’
    • ‘Would these people come to a village pub off a main thoroughfare if the food was as bad as your reviewer makes out?’
    • ‘He spoke to the driver and the car turned onto a quiet track off the main road.’
    • ‘Just off the main consumer drag of Regent Street runs humble Heddon Street.’
    • ‘Bear right through the gate off the main path and begin the steep, steep ascent directly to the summit.’
    • ‘I still cannot get my head round the idea that golf's holy of holies is situated just off a busy dual carriageway.’
    • ‘You can see where many trails merge, popular browsing routes, places off the beaten track maybe.’
    • ‘There were three different types of toilets in the yards off the main street.’
    • ‘The businessmen were on a part of the Wall that is off the main tourist trail.’
    • ‘I live in a very nice 2 bedroom house not far from the city centre in a quiet street just off a main road.’
    • ‘She strengthened her grip on my arm, steered me onto a smaller path which forked off the main route to the left.’
    1. 2.1 Out at sea from (a place on the coast)
      ‘anchoring off Blue Bay’
      ‘six miles off Dunkirk’
      • ‘Just off the coast of Venezuela, Bonaire is also one of the top two dive sites in the Caribbean.’
      • ‘Snapper and teraglin have been the main catches off Ballina and Evans.’
      • ‘On the return voyage, his ship was lost off Cape Cod, but he and his crew were rescued.’
      • ‘His parents moved to Paisley from a remote island off the west coast of Ireland.’
      • ‘The big boys may have had it all their own way since oil was discovered off the north-east coast.’
      • ‘Three years ago we also bought an island with a tumbledown house off the Welsh coast.’
      • ‘Boats off the Donegal coast will be restricted to just nine days fishing a month.’
      • ‘One of the world's biggest wind farms could be built off the coast of Essex.’
      • ‘The ship, on her inaugural cruise after a multi-million refurbishment, anchored off Milford Haven while her passengers were led on a variety of excursions.’
      • ‘They farm tuna in similar ponds in colder deeper waters off the coast of South Australia.’
      • ‘American authorities will have an aircraft carrier anchored off the coast.’
      • ‘It was so hot off Spain's Mediterranean coast that water temperatures rose by three degrees.’
      • ‘As a youth I went mackerel fishing with an old boy called Sam off the Norfolk coast.’
      • ‘Much bigger windfarms are due to be built, including some off the Yorkshire coast.’
      • ‘The ship was visiting Albania to conduct survey operations off the coast.’
      • ‘Eventually, Frank and his comrades anchored three miles off the French coast at day break.’
      • ‘The new tidal project, at the Fall of Warness, off Eday, will see four test berths.’
      • ‘Several types of endangered sea turtles live in the waters off the Angolan coast.’
      • ‘Duvillaun is one of the largest islands off the Irish coast and is renowned as a wildlife haven.’
      • ‘Several fishing boats have also gone missing off the northern main island of Luzon.’
  • 3So as to be removed or separated from.

    ‘threatening to tear the door off its hinges’
    ‘they knocked $2,000 off the price’
    figurative ‘it's a huge burden off my shoulders’
    • ‘When Ford knocked $700 off the price, sales shot up, and the Super Cab now accounts for 70 percent of all Rangers sold.’
    • ‘They tore metal window bars off the front of Parnella House and were smashing the bus shelter with them.’
    • ‘I wrote to the originator of the list and told them please take my name off your list as I have no interest in being in your group.’
    • ‘Tariq was flung to the ground amid shattered glass and looked up to see his front door had been blown off its hinges.’
    • ‘It is an objective to get so many people off the unemployment roll, or so many more students into university.’
    • ‘She closed her eyes for a moment as she tore the tarpaulin off the person beneath it.’
    • ‘So much for taking the burden off the workers and making the aged more self-reliant!’
    • ‘They started by taking the plaster off the outside walls.’
    • ‘I glared at him as he walked over to the counter and ripped a piece of paper off the roll.’
    • ‘He had cut the arms off his black T-shirt, the one with an Indian chief printed on the front.’
    • ‘All I have to do is to turn into a brutal fascist pig and angrily rip the covers off their bed while screaming at them.’
    • ‘I have torn the cuticle off my left big toe by scraping the fridge door over it.’
    • ‘The blast was so powerful that it ripped iron security doors in the building off their hinges.’
    • ‘Remove a good slice off the top of each onion, then place them in a baking tin or ovenproof dish.’
    • ‘The ship suffered huge damage, which ultimately caused the keel to tear itself off the boat's hull.’
    • ‘Luque will take some of the burden off Shearer, but he won't score so many goals.’
    • ‘Donald Dewar, however, will be taking some of the burden off her shoulders this weekend.’
    • ‘The Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 is reduced to €14.20 a bottle - that is €3.50 off its regular price.’
    • ‘Pulling the leaves off thyme sprigs can be painstaking - when the branching stems are twiggy, you can't strip the stalk bare in one clean sweep.’
    • ‘In order to do this, you have to remove the hub off the shaft and knock the rivets out.’
    1. 3.1 Absent from.
      ‘I took a couple of days off work’
      • ‘As a response to this action some employees have stayed off the job for almost two weeks.’
      • ‘The doctor has given me a week off work to rest and recuperate.’
      • ‘Paying for three senior officers to stay off work is a luxury no one can afford.’
      • ‘He said the workers plan to remain off work until the money is paid into their accounts.’
      • ‘If they put in their required weekly practice time, he would reward them by letting them take a day off school to go on a family ski trip.’
    2. 3.2informal Abstaining from.
      ‘he managed to stay off alcohol’
      • ‘He has embarked on yet another comeback and is apparently off the booze.’
      • ‘Although he promised to stay off alcohol, he went on a binge last month in his local pub.’
      • ‘Now with coeliac disease you've got to really get off gluten and stay off gluten.’
      • ‘Often when people come off drugs, they have no place in society.’
      • ‘After hearing her tale of blind panic in the deep, you too will be struggling to stay off the cream cakes.’
      • ‘Since he started the implants she says her son has stayed off heroin and for the first time there is hope he could be free of it forever.’
      • ‘For children it can mean staying off sweets or some of their other favourite things of life.’
      • ‘The alcohol reacted to my system in a way that has turned me off alcohol for life.’
      • ‘I've been off cocaine for years now and you know that!’
      • ‘After five years off cigarettes, your risk of developing cancer is greatly decreased.’
      • ‘Miss Creamer was on remand at New Hall on a theft charge and was being given treatment to wean her off drugs.’
      • ‘In the future all I hope is that I stay off drugs and keep clean, get my children back, get my own house and a good job.’
      • ‘However there was some success, with a quarter managing to stay off the fags for more than three months.’
      • ‘If this means staying off the usual glass or three of wine per evening for a bit, so be it.’
      • ‘Remember to reach out for help when you feel your commitment to stay off drugs is waning.’
      • ‘We hope to convince every motorist to stay off alcohol if they plan to get behind the wheel and drive home.’
      • ‘Spud, still struggling to stay off heroin, learns about working class history.’
  • 4informal Having a temporary dislike of.

    ‘he's running a temperature and he's off his food’
    • ‘And then I woke this morning to little IM messages from Greg… mmmmm! But I'm still off men.’
    • ‘With the onset of summer, the Big Cats suddenly go off food and spend most of the time in water.’
    • ‘I saw one of these rooms in Chinook and it was enough to turn me off food for a couple of hours.’
    • ‘He was still trying to put her off her food, even though he was a little late.’


  • 1attributive Characterized by performing or feeling worse than usual; unsatisfactory or inadequate.

    ‘even the greatest athletes have off days’
    • ‘Woodward will be hoping that Humphreys has an off day on Saturday, however.’
    • ‘It could be, of course, that he just had an off night for he faded after a bright opening.’
    • ‘They're not the toughest team Switzerland, but even a weak team can beat you on an off day can't they?’
    • ‘We appreciate each other's input all the time, and if one of us is having an off day, the other one picks up.’
    • ‘Did the Olympic sprinter lose in the final because of the intense atmosphere or because he or she had an off day?’
    • ‘Every player experiences off nights when nothing works.’
    • ‘Still, as Aristotle might have said on an off day, the judges' decision is final.’
    • ‘Episode II is probably the weakest so for but then we all have an off day now and then.’
    • ‘It is the sign of a good team that they can still get something on an off day.’
    • ‘They had a decent first half and a very good second half while Hearts, despite bags of effort, had an off day.’
    • ‘Anyone can have an off day, and we'll draw a veil over which one of us it was.’
    • ‘Sure, everyone is due an off day, but it seemed weird that so many suffered one simultaneously.’
    • ‘How much kudos is there really in beating Milan's B team or Ajax on an off day?’
    • ‘No bemoaning of luck or excuses of an off night can hide the facts this time.’
    • ‘We were really poor and it is strange that you get so many players having an off game.’
    • ‘He just has an off day at Cheltenham and the flatter Aintree circuit suits him much better.’
    • ‘Millwall haven't fluked their way into the final and the Reds could have an off day.’
    • ‘When the starting pitcher gets tired or is having an off day, a team manager calls in a reliever.’
    • ‘It was a shame to be there on an off night, but the upside was quick and friendly service from the bar staff.’
    • ‘Even great teams have their off moments.’
    1. 1.1British informal predicative Unwell.
      ‘I felt decidedly off’
      • ‘The 19-year-old student woke up feeling ‘a bit off’ but went to her part-time job at a clothing store anyway.’
      • ‘I sit out by the loft and observe the birds a lot and if one looks a bit off I can see it.’
      • ‘Am feeling a little off today - like I might be coming down with something.’
      unwell, ill, poorly, bad, out of sorts, indisposed, not oneself, sick, queasy, nauseous, nauseated, peaky, liverish, green about the gills, run down, washed out
      View synonyms
  • 2predicative (of food) no longer fresh.

    ‘the fish was a bit off’
    • ‘Her coffee was bad, maybe the milk was off.’
    • ‘If a wine smells off, chances are it won't taste right, either.’
    • ‘The manager also arrived to apologise, though he did not agree with my view that the fish was off.’
    • ‘The brining solution in the can may react to the metal and give the olives an off taste.’
    rotten, bad, stale, mouldy, high, sour, rancid, turned, spoiled, putrid, putrescent
    View synonyms
  • 3attributive Located on the side of a vehicle that is normally furthest from the kerb; offside.

    Compare with near (sense 4 of the adjective)
  • 4British informal predicative Annoying or unfair.

    ‘His boss deducted the money from his pay. That was a bit off’
    • ‘We were there to learn and listening to a boring old bloke talking about things which we considered irrelevant to 17 year old West Midlanders was a bit off.’
    • ‘Sometimes I think it's a bit off when clubs expect you to make a choice.’
    unfair, unjust, uncalled for, below the belt, unacceptable, unjustified, unjustifiable, unreasonable, unsatisfactory, unwarranted, unnecessary, inequitable
    View synonyms
  • 5British informal predicative Unfriendly or hostile.

    ‘there's no one there except the barmaid, and she's a bit off’
    • ‘She seemed to be a bit off with me and I felt like crying.’
    • ‘What's up, mate? You're really off.’
    • ‘The woman who wrote the report was really off with me right from the minute we met.’
    unfriendly, aloof, cool, cold, distant, chilly, frosty, hostile, frigid, unresponsive, unapproachable, uncommunicative
    View synonyms


  • 1The half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) towards which the batsman's feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball.

    The opposite of leg
    • ‘Bradman hit only one four in front of the wicket on the off, but 14 to the on by means of drives and his celebrated pull.’
    • ‘Headland bats with real style and is deadly square of the wicket on the off side.’
    • ‘The fields above the village were terraced and the leg-side fielders stood six feet above the wicket while those on the off side were six feet below it.’
    • ‘He doesn't have the same type of mystery ball which turns to the off as Mushtaq, but he can bowl a top spinner which goes straight on.’
  • 2British informal The start of a race, journey, or experience.

    ‘now Ian is ready for the off’
    • ‘Both teams seemed energised at the off.’
    • ‘Preston looked comfortable from the off, and took the lead after just nine minutes.’
    • ‘Now, let me admit right from the off that I've never done any tunny fishing myself.’
    • ‘I ate one before the off, and the other one during the race.’
    • ‘Pete Buck and Phil Smith attacked from the off, rattling up 106 for the first wicket.’
    • ‘Coach Richard Midgley was pleased with the outcome and feels he has his men in peak form for the off.’


  • 1no object Leave.

    ‘supposedly loyal workers suddenly upped and offed to the new firms’
    • ‘It was revealed last week that Desmond has relocated his business to avoid tax in Britain-in other words, he's upped and offed in search of a better life.’
    • ‘I understood that comprehensive education was designed to call a halt to the tragedy of those left behind when the grammar school kids upped and offed.’
    • ‘Thankfully most of the fashionista lookalikes have upped and offed by now, and so much the better.’
  • 2North American with object Kill; murder.

    ‘I finally snapped and offed the guy’
    • ‘Her babysitter was slaughtered but Rachel managed to escape - though not before offing Bateman with an ice pick!’
    • ‘So, on election night, while the media spotlight was pointed elsewhere, Harvey was offed.’
    • ‘Maybe it's just me, but I don't think the best way to prove your innocence of murder is by offing a bunch of law enforcement officers.’
    • ‘Since the police station was bombed and someone offed his wife, Tom has been mighty surly.’
    • ‘They are in Hollywood, on the set of the movie Stab 3, where members of the cast are being eviscerated in the same order that their characters were offed in the screenplay.’
    • ‘It seems that Jason is back from the dead and getting back in the saddle offing good looking, nubile co-eds and stupid adults.’
    • ‘I mean just because I offed a couple of relatives of theirs doesn't mean they have to become all homicidal and try to kill me.’
    • ‘Still, I'm betting everyone who caught the first couple of episodes wants to know who offed Lilly Kane, and you can count me among the obsessives.’
    • ‘So he offs a go-go dancer with a toxic rose and shoots a stripper with a blowgun.’
    • ‘Since he'll probably inherit a big chunk of Castillo's surprisingly large estate, he may have half a dozen motives for offing his old man.’
    • ‘All I know, Briggs, is I've got a source who tells me this guy will be offed by the Vigilante.’
    • ‘I realized her precarious emotional state and immediately offered to go take care of the grisly task of offing her turkey.’
    • ‘In the meantime, they assassinated their vice president and just missed offing the president.’
    • ‘The rogues ransack the place in search of a treasure map, offing the men and carting the women, including feisty Violet Miranda, onto a ship run by the dastardly but suave Captain Calico Jack.’
    • ‘Two of the robbers are brothers, and one becomes violently angry when the cop offs his sibling.’
    • ‘Detective Blake, the cop in charge of the investigation, thinks Rick offed his wife, although Rick claims he was out of town at the time of the murder.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, there is a serial killer who is offing people left and right in the ‘hood.’
    • ‘Hey, do you think they might even be evil enough to have a hand in the ‘accident’ that offed their friends in the first place?’
    • ‘Rick offed one of his own guys, but he deserved it for shooting me.’
    • ‘It is not made clear just why Sebastian snaps to the degree he does, but he suddenly becomes a murderous, kill-crazed loony, offing his co-workers one by one.’


Off of is often used in place of the preposition off in contexts such as she picked it up off of the floor (compared with she picked it up off the floor). Although off of is recorded from the 16th century (it was used by Shakespeare) and is logically parallel to the standard out of, it is regarded as incorrect in standard modern English


  • off and on

    • Intermittently; now and then.

      • ‘Your post made me think of an issue I've thought about off and on for some time now.’
      • ‘There've been other really good people that I've worked with off and on over the years.’
      • ‘I spent the rest of the weekend listening to the CD off and on, while driving around.’
      • ‘About ten minutes after I hung up the phone, it started raining hard, and did so off and on for most of the day.’
      • ‘I've been a fan of hip hop off and on since the 80s and the genre seems to work in fits and spurts.’
      • ‘I've never met Ronnie's wife, even though I talked to her off and on for a long time via email.’
      • ‘You know, I've been talking to Judy off and on about this case for the last year.’
      • ‘Yet it was the beginning of a struggle with alcohol which for the next four years, off and on, got me into trouble.’
      • ‘As someone who has tried to cast light on the mystery off and on for the last 40 years, I was becoming increasingly sceptical.’
      • ‘We have visited and filmed them off and on for the past six months.’
      periodically, at intervals, on and off, once in a while, every once in a while, every so often, now and again, now and then, every now and again, every now and then, from time to time, occasionally, on occasion, on occasions, on the odd occasion, at times, sometimes, sporadically, spasmodically, erratically, irregularly, intermittently, by fits and starts, in fits and starts, fitfully, discontinuously, piecemeal
      View synonyms
  • off limits

    • 1Out of bounds.

      ‘the site was off limits to the public’
      • ‘Up to recently these waters were off limits to Western travelers.’
      • ‘Places that are off limits are especially interesting and should be explored thoroughly.’
      • ‘Scientists are on the scene, but the mountain is off limits to hikers and climbers.’
      • ‘Anything to the right of yellow is strictly off limits.’
      • ‘You have to stand up and declare yourself off limits to emotional terrorism.’
      • ‘After the war, Midway remained one of America's military linchpins, and was kept firmly off limits to visitors.’
      • ‘Perhaps we should have dug deeper because it's quite apparent now that the whole topic was off limits.’
      • ‘In our puritanical world, where marriages were arranged, romance was off limits.’
      • ‘Now I have made the point more than once that this column is strictly off limits for political partisanship.’
      • ‘Authorities made the area off limits to fishing, leaving hundreds out of work.’
      1. 1.1Not to be mentioned or discussed.
        ‘it was apparent that the whole topic was off limits’
        • ‘A lot of Americans realize that serious security thinking at the university level requires a free-for-all in which you can't put some subjects off limits for debate.’
        • ‘You have the right to free speech in this country with certain areas being off limits.’
        • ‘I honestly don't know why this argument is off limits.’
        • ‘At no time has Latham stated categorically that the topic of tax-cuts are off limits.’
        • ‘Discussion of the Civil War seemed to be off limits.’
        • ‘You may remember that he did a Today interview with John Humphreys in which Iraq was off limits.’
        • ‘He finally agrees on the condition that discussion of the manager's future is off limits.’
        • ‘The steady shift to the right in official political circles and in the corporate-controlled media puts the most fundamental issues off limits in any encounter between president and press.’
        • ‘Methodology in turn falls under the gaze of epistemology, the investigation of investigation itself - nothing is off limits to scientific questioning.’
        • ‘His private life was off limits during the interview.’
        taboo, censored, forbidden, banned, interdicted, proscribed, prohibited, not to be spoken of, ineffable, unspeakable, unutterable, unprintable, indescribable, out of bounds, beyond the pale, off limits, that dare not speak its name, disapproved of, frowned on
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    • see limit
      periodically, at intervals, on and off, once in a while, every once in a while, every so often, now and again, now and then, every now and again, every now and then, from time to time, occasionally, on occasion, on occasions, on the odd occasion, at times, sometimes, sporadically, spasmodically, erratically, irregularly, intermittently, by fits and starts, in fits and starts, fitfully, discontinuously, piecemeal
      View synonyms


Old English, originally a variant of of (which combined the senses of ‘of’ and ‘off’).