Definition of off-color in US English:


(also off color)


  • 1Somewhat indecent or in poor taste.

    ‘off-color jokes’
    • ‘Sometimes when he left an after-work bar outing to hurry home, his colleagues would privately breathe a sigh of relief; with him gone, they could drink up and tell off-color jokes.’
    • ‘The most off-color moment is a harmless scene in which an old man, under the influence of some aromatic smoke, strips naked and cavorts around in a garden.’
    • ‘Just go see, they'll be knocking you around and making off-color jokes like they've known you for years.’
    • ‘Eliza makes quite a good impression, as her pronunciation and dress are perfect; however, when she tells an off-color story about her family Higgins realizes that she has a lot more to learn.’
    • ‘He tends to tell off-color jokes, use a lot of sexual innuendo and pepper his conversations with inappropriate words.’
    • ‘He feels at home among these people, with their firm handshakes and occasionally off-color jokes.’
    • ‘Why else would Ronnie do all the creepy and off-color stuff he pulled?’
    • ‘Therre is was, the pivot of the trial, reduced to one off-color remark.’
    • ‘Did the same off-color jokes circulate in the grade schools of Minneapolis and Johnson City?’
    • ‘For example, two people who like or respect one another may share some off-color humor, laugh, and consider it funny.’
    • ‘Why can some comics be off-color but it doesn't seem gratuitous and vulgar?’
    • ‘Ron spends any spare time he has performing at comedy clubs from coast to coast, spreading his special brand of off-color glee.’
    • ‘He's so modest, though, he'd blush if someone made an off-color remark.’
    • ‘She paused to chuckle at an off-color joke someone felt the need to share with anyone listening.’
    • ‘Brash and comical, the CEO isn't afraid to tell an off-color joke in public.’
    • ‘If TV networks are concerned about off-color language, pit reporters shouldn't stick microphones in drivers' faces after wrecks and mechanical failures.’
    • ‘The writers spice up the timeline by including several amusing and off-color conversations between Mac and his friends and family to illustrate Bernie's perspective on life.’
    • ‘The quotes from the kids and the grandson and other relatives are little off-color.’
    • ‘In the cartoons where off-color humor works, it's hilarious as hell, but in those where it doesn't, it tanks.’
    • ‘Larry has always been about off-color humor, sometimes really obvious, sometimes more subtle.’
  • 2Of the wrong or an inferior color.

    ‘the new paint doesn't match, it's off-color’
    • ‘Oak lacebug can turn the leaves off-color, causing long-term stress that heavily defoliates bur oaks in shelterbelt plantings, especially during dry weather.’
    • ‘This test can be used to highlight dead pixels - they will appear as off-colour, light or dark spots on the flat colour screens, highlighted very clearly.’
    • ‘Photos may show such indicators of problems as early leaf drop, standing water, thin or off-color turf and incorrect pruning procedures.’
    • ‘Avoid trees with brown or off-color needles and trees exhibiting a large amount of needle drop.’
    • ‘Late yesterday afternoon I noticed that a few of the scudding-by clouds were off-colour, a bit brown.’
    • ‘With this funky off-colour skein, I am suspicious that either someone returned the yarn after peeling off the label or there was a mix-up in the mill, because the colour variation is really different.’
    • ‘The bay floor has been scoured by shrimp trawls of nearly all the vegetation that once helped to settle suspended sediments; you learn to fish in off-color water.’
    • ‘It was yet another lesson in the effectiveness of live bait and an eye-opening class in how to catch fish in off-color (OK, muddy) water.’
    • ‘Pros in the area actually prefer slightly off-color water, Woolly said, especially for trout, but sometimes have trouble finding it when wind is light on consecutive days.’
    • ‘Such places are where the idea of ‘vegetables’ consists of a few boiled spuds and an off-colour green bean or two.’
    1. 2.1 (of a diamond) neither white nor any definite color.
  • 3British Slightly unwell.

    ‘I'm feeling a bit off-color’
    • ‘I've been off-colour and not-blogging, apologies; here's a bunch of TV things quickly that bear further investigation.’
    • ‘Doctors should be made to think more carefully before handing out certificates willy-nilly just because someone looks a bit off-colour or says they do not feel so good.’
    • ‘Any player who was off-colour or who complained of fatigue was immediately stood down from training.’
    • ‘I'm feeling off-colour and grumpy today.’
    • ‘If you are feeling a bit sluggish and off-colour it may be that your digestive system is out of balance.’
    • ‘If she feels a little off-colour then it's because the baby didn't like what we had for dinner.’
    • ‘He's still off-colour today, but submits to a meeting anyway.’
    • ‘To make matters worse, I'd started to develop what I thought was a bit of a cold by Saturday evening so I was feeling decidedly grumpy and off-colour.’
    • ‘She booked an appointment with her doctor because she was feeling off-colour.’
    • ‘This morning I have a sore throat and feel decidedly off-colour.’
    • ‘Since I was very young, whenever I'm off-colour and feverish I have the following recurring vision as I wander confusedly in the no-man's land between consciousness and sleep.’
    • ‘I had been off-colour for several weeks and off food for several days prior to this and did not realise the effects of wine on an empty stomach.’
    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