Meaning of OFF in English


I. ˈȯf adverb

Etymology: Middle English of, from Old English — more at of

Date: before 12th century



(1) : from a place or position

march off

specifically : away from land

ship stood off to sea

(2) : at a distance in space or time

stood 10 paces off

a long way off

b. : from a course : aside

turned off into a bypath

specifically : away from the wind

c. : into an unconscious state

dozed off


a. : so as to be separated from support

rolled to the edge of the table and off

or close contact

blew the lid off

the handle came off

b. : so as to be divided

surface marked off into squares


a. : to a state of discontinuance or suspension

shut off an engine

b. — used as an intensifier

drink off a glass

finish it off

4. : in absence from or suspension of regular work or service

take time off for lunch

5. : offstage

II. preposition

Date: before 12th century


a. — used as a function word to indicate physical separation or distance from a position of rest, attachment, or union

take it off the table

a path off the main walk

a shop just off the main street

b. : to seaward of

two miles off shore

2. : from the possession or charge of

had his wallet stolen off him

3. — used as a function word to indicate the object of an action

borrowed a dollar off him

dined off oysters


a. — used as a function word to indicate the suspension of an occupation or activity

off duty

off liquor

b. : below the usual standard or level of

off his game

III. adjective

Date: 1666


a. : seaward

b. : right

c. : more removed or distant

the off side of the building


a. : started on the way

off on a spree

b. : not taking place or staying in effect : canceled

the deal was off

c. : not operating

d. : not placed so as to permit operation


a. : not corresponding to fact : incorrect

off in his reckoning

b. : poor , subnormal

c. : not entirely sane : eccentric

d. : remote , slight

an off chance


a. : spent off duty

reading on his off days

b. : marked by a periodic decline in activity or business

traveled in the off season for lower prices


a. : off-color

b. : inferior

off grade of oil

also : affected with putrefaction

c. : down

stocks were off

6. : circumstanced

worse off

IV. verb

Date: 1717

intransitive verb

: to go away : depart — used chiefly as an imperative

off , or I'll shoot

transitive verb

slang : kill , murder

V. abbreviation

office; officer; official

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.