Meaning of OFF in English

The preposition is pronounced /ɒf, AM ɔ:f/. The adverb is pronounced /ɒf, AM ɔ:f/

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Note: In addition to the uses shown below, 'off' is used after some verbs and nouns in order to introduce extra information. 'Off' is also used in phrasal verbs such as ‘get off’, ‘pair off’, and ‘sleep off’.


If something is taken off something else or moves off it, it is no longer touching that thing.

He took his feet off the desk...

I took the key for the room off a rack above her head...

Hugh wiped the rest of the blood off his face with his handkerchief.

= from


Off is also an adverb.

Lee broke off a small piece of orange and held it out to him...

His exhaust fell off six laps from the finish.

ADV : ADV after v


When you get off a bus, train, or plane, you come out of it or leave it after you have been travelling on it.

Don’t try to get on or off a moving train!...

As he stepped off the aeroplane, he was shot dead.

≠ on


Off is also an adverb.

At the next stop the man got off too and introduced himself.

ADV : ADV after v


If you keep off a street or piece of land, you do not step on it or go there.

Locking up men does nothing more than keep them off the streets...

The local police had warned visitors to keep off the beach at night.


Off is also an adverb.

...a sign saying ‘Keep Off’.



If something is situated off a place such as a coast, room, or road, it is near to it or next to it, but not exactly in it.

The boat was anchored off the northern coast of the peninsula...

Lily lives in a penthouse just off Park Avenue...



If you go off , you leave a place.

He was just about to drive off when the secretary came running out...

She gave a hurried wave and set off across the grass...

She was off again. Last year she had been to Kenya. This year it was Goa...

When his master’s off traveling, Caleb stays with Pierre’s parents.

ADV : ADV after v , be ADV , oft ADV -ing


When you take off clothing or jewellery that you are wearing, you remove it from your body.

He took off his spectacles and rubbed frantically at the lens...

He hastily stripped off his old uniform and began pulling on the new one.

ADV : ADV after v


If you have time off or a particular day off, you do not go to work or school, for example because you are ill or it is a day when you do not usually work.

The rest of the men had the day off...

She was sacked for demanding Saturdays off...

I’m off tomorrow...

The average Swede was off sick 27 days last year.

ADV : usu n ADV , also be ADV

Off is also a preposition.

He could not get time off work to go on holiday.



If you keep off a subject, you deliberately avoid talking about it.

Keep off the subject of politics...

Keep the conversation off linguistic matters.



If something such as an agreement or a sporting event is off , it is cancelled.

Until Pointon is completely happy, however, the deal’s off...

Greenpeace refused to call off the event.

≠ on

ADV : be ADV , ADV after v


If someone is off something harmful such as a drug, they have stopped taking or using it.

She felt better and the psychiatrist took her off drug therapy...



If you are off something, you have stopped liking it.

I’m off coffee at the moment...

Diarrhoea can make you feel weak, as well as putting you off your food.



When something such as a machine or electric light is off , it is not functioning or in use. When you switch it off , you stop it functioning.

As he pulled into the driveway, he saw her bedroom light was off...

We used sail power and turned the engine off to save our fuel...

The microphones had been switched off.

≠ on

ADV : be ADV , ADV after v


If there is money off something, its price is reduced by the amount specified.

...Simons Leatherwear, 37 Old Christchurch Road. 20 per cent off all jackets this Saturday.

...discounts offering thousands of pounds off the normal price of a car.

PREP : amount PREP n

Off is also an adverb.

I’m prepared to knock five hundred pounds off but no more.

ADV : ADV after v , v-link ADV , amount ADV


If something is a long way off , it is a long distance away from you.

Florida was a long way off...

Below you, though still 50 miles off, is the most treeless stretch of land imaginable.

= away

ADV : n / amount ADV


If something is a long time off , it will not happen for a long time.

An end to the crisis seems a long way off...

The required technology is probably still two years off.

ADV : n / amount ADV


If you get something off someone, you obtain it from them. ( SPOKEN )

I don’t really get a lot of information, and if I do I get it off Mark...

‘Telmex’ was bought off the government by a group of investors.

= from



If food has gone off , it tastes and smells bad because it is no longer fresh enough to be eaten. ( mainly BRIT; in AM, usually use spoiled , bad )

Don’t eat that! It’s mouldy. It’s gone off!

= bad

ADJ : v-link ADJ


If you live off a particular kind of food, you eat it in order to live. If you live off a particular source of money, you use it to live.

Her husband’s memories are of living off roast chicken and drinking whisky...

Antony had been living off the sale of his own paintings.

= on



If a machine runs off a particular kind of fuel or power, it uses that power in order to function.

The Auto Compact Disc Cleaner can run off batteries or mains.



If something happens on and off , or off and on , it happens occasionally, or only for part of a period of time, not in a regular or continuous way.

I was still working on and off as a waitress to support myself...

We lived together, off and on, for two years.

PHRASE : PHR after v , PHR with cl

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.