Meaning of OFF in English

I. ˈȯf also ˈäf adverb

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


a. : from a place or position

march off

fly off

send a letter off

specifically : in a direction away from land

ship stood off to sea

b. : so as to prevent close approach

drove the dogs off

fighting off drowsiness

buy off an enemy

c. : from a course : in a slanting or oblique direction : aside

turned off into a bypath

veered off to avoid collision

his drive fell off to the left of the green

specifically : away from the wind

ship eased off a point or two

d. : into an unconscious state : into sleep

dozed off for a while

must have dropped off

2. : to a state or condition of separateness : so as not to be supported

rolled to the edge of the table and off

or covering or enclosing

blew the lid off

took his coat off

or attached

the handle came off

peeled off the skin

married off two daughters

or united

surface marked off into squares


a. : to a state of discontinuance

shut off an engine

turn off the water

break off a conversation

or exhaustion

drain off excess fluid

drink off a glass at one draft

or completion

the weather has cleared off

coat of paint to finish it off

smooth off the corners

sweep off the porch steps

rattle off a string of clichés

run off a series of racing heats

play off a tie

b. : into a state of relief resulting from an orgasm

go off

dream off

— not often in formal use

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

take time off for lunch

ask for a day off

5. : at a distance in space or time

stood ten paces off

Christmas is only two weeks off

lives off in the hills

6. : offstage

turns and goes off left

knocking is heard off

7. substandard — used as a function word with and to express abruptness or unexpectedness or directness of an action

he off and bought a whole new outfit

off and busted him in the jaw

— compare haul off

- off with

II. preposition

Etymology: Middle English of — more at of


a. — used as a function word to indicate a supporting surface or a position of rest, attachment, or union from which separation is made

take it off the table

eat off a plate

bullet glanced off the wall

took the property off his hands

cut two yards off the roll of cloth

b. : down from

stepped off the train


a. : from the charge or possession of

bought it off a wandering peddler

had his wallet stolen off him

b. : from as a source of supply : at the expense of

lived off the county

lived off his sister

got two runs off the first pitcher

made his living off the tourists

liked the money he made off it — Will Rogers b.1911

c. : so as to consume

dined off oysters and champagne

3. : to seaward of

two miles off shore

4. — used as a function word to indicate something that one has been but is not now partaking of, occupied with, or engaged upon

off duty

recently gone off smoking


a. — used as a function word to indicate a standard or level from which there is a reduction or falling away

off his usual tennis form

fifteen percent off the list price

two seconds off the track record

b. : diverging from (a main course)

two points off the wind

off center

off balance

kept getting off the subject

got off the route at the park

a street opening off the avenue

: situated or occurring apart from (a principal place or proceeding)

little shop just off Main Street

speaking off the record

— used often in combination

off -Broadway play

talks … to imaginary people that are carefully off -camera — Newsweek

- off the mark

III. adjective

Etymology: off (I)


a. : more removed or distant : opposite to the main part or side

went round to the off side of the building

the off side of the medal was blank

b. : situated to one side : not main or principal

off street

off branch of the river

c. : being on the side away from the shore : seaward

keeping the buoy on her off side

d. : being or relating to the side of an animal, team, or vehicle that is farther from the driver as he walks or rider as he mounts : right

off horse in a team

off leg

off wheel

— opposed to near

e. : of or relating to the side of the cricket field opposite to that on which the batsman stands

an off hit

an off play

an off stroke


a. : set in motion : started on the way

off on one of his tirades

off on a spree

b. : not taking place or staying in effect

the picnic is off

in case of a tie all bets are off

c. bridge : having lost or destined to lose

the spade finesse was off

d. : off side (sense 3)

e. : not flowing : checked from flowing by a closed valve or opened switch

repairs made while the current is off

the lever is in the off position

hot water is off

f. of a braking device : not applied : released, inoperative


a. : not corresponding to fact : divergent or erring from a true line or exact figure

off in his reckoning

your guesses are way off

b. : not being up to normal condition or usual efficiency : not being at one's best

every performer has his off days

c. : not entirely sane : mentally unstable : odd , eccentric

the poor fellow is a little off

psychiatrists … understand that a person can be off on one topic and fully normal in others — Ruth P. Randall

d. : remote , slight

only an off chance of his being right

e. : not familiar or well-known : not well advertised

suspicious of off brands


a. : taken or spent off duty or in relaxation

reading on his off days

b. : marked by a falling off or by less than ordinary activity or productiveness or amount of business : slack

off season in European travel


a. : slightly tinged with some or another hue or with gray

off shades

an off kind of blue — C.B.Kelland

b. : being of inferior quality

off grade of oil

: detracting from quality

trying to keep butter free from any off odors

also : tainted

this cream is off

c. : being at a lower level

industrial stocks were 1.12 points off for the day

railroad traffic was off 5 percent

— opposed to up

d. of a racetrack : not being in good condition : not fast

ran his best races on off tracks

e. of a bridge hand : short of the ideal or normal requirement

off by two aces

6. : having completed a pressrun whether or not removed from the press

form is off

7. : conditioned or circumstanced especially as to material welfare

not rich but comfortably off

thought he was just as well off without a wife

the house was badly off for paint

8. of an animal's age : more than a specified number of years

a mare four off but not yet rising five

9. : relating to the sale of liquor that is to be consumed away from the premises

an off license

IV. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: off (I)

transitive verb

: to take off : doff

intransitive verb

1. of a ship : to move away from shore : start out to sea


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

off , or I shoot

b. : to get or be off — used chiefly as an imperative

off , ye lendings — Shakespeare

V. noun

( s )

Etymology: off (III)

1. : the condition or state of being off

their engagement had its offs and ons

2. : the side of a cricket field bisected by a straight line passing through both middle stumps from boundary to boundary opposite to that on which the batsman stands — compare leg , on ; see cricket illustration

VI. abbreviation

1. offered

2. office; officer; official

3. officinal

VII. transitive verb

slang : kill : murder

wouldn't think no more of offing a cop than stepping on a roach — Robby Wideman

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.