Meaning of OFFSET in English


I. ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ noun

( plural offsets )

Etymology: off (III) + set, n. (after set off, v.)


a. archaic : outset , start

b. : cessation — opposed to onset

rapid regular beating of the heart … characterized by sudden onset and sudden offset — H.J.Stewart



(1) : a short prostrate lateral shoot arising from the base of the parent plant (as a houseleek)

(2) : a small bulb arising from the base of a mother bulb

b. : a lateral or collateral branch of a family or race : offshoot

c. : a spur from a range of hills or mountains

d. : a short drift or crosscut driven from a main level or gangway of a mine


a. : a horizontal ledge on the face of a wall, pier, or buttress formed by a diminution of its thickness above

b. : a level terrace on a bank or hillside

c. : horizontal displacement in faulting of strata from previous alignment : strike slip

d. : an abrupt change in the dimension or profile of an object (as a bowl) or the part set off by such change

4. : something that sets off to advantage or embellishes something else : foil


a. : an abrupt bend in an object (as a pipe or rod) by which one part is turned aside out of line but nearly parallel with the rest ; also : the part thus bent aside

b. : a short distance measured usually at right angles from a line (as to a boundary in computing the area of an irregular-shaped piece of land or to a continuation of a line parallel to itself at some distance away to avoid an obstruction)

c. : the distance of any point in a ship's structure from one of the three reference planes measured normal to that plane

6. : something that serves to counterbalance or to compensate for something else

the offset of a century of industry was the universal ugliness — Sacheverell Sitwell

specifically : either of two equivalent items on the two sides of an account

these agencies … borrow money in order to relend it, and have offsets consisting of debts owed them — New Republic

7. : offset well


[from past participle of offset (II) ]

a. : unintentional transfer of ink (as from the surface of a freshly printed sheet to the back of the sheet placed on top of it) ; also : the ink or image so transferred — called also setoff

b. or offset lithography : a printing process in which an inked impression (usually from a dampened planographic surface) is first made on a rubber-blanketed cylinder and then transferred to the paper being printed — compare dry offset , lithography , photo-offset , planography

9. : a rip current running out from or along a beach : sea puss

10. : difference in value or direction : deviation , discrepancy

modern man cannot divest himself of his desire to act in the old way … the result is an offset between his desires and his possibilities — W.P.Webb

II. ˈ ̷ ̷| ̷ ̷ verb

Etymology: off (I) + set, v.

transitive verb


a. : to place over against : balance

offset items of deposit and withdrawal

b. : counterbalance , compensate

had speed enough to offset his opponents' greater weight

2. : to form an offset in (as a wall, rod, pipe)

3. geology : to move horizontally to one side out of alignment by faulting

4. : to transfer (an inked impression) from one surface to another by contact

intransitive verb

: to receive an unintentionally transferred impression : set off

interleaving to prevent offsetting

III. adjective

Etymology: from past participle of offset (II)

1. : placed or moved out of line or out of the center

fishing rod with offset handle

offset wheels

2. : neither parallel nor intersecting — used especially of the axes of gears or pulleys

3. : printed by the offset method

an offset postage stamp

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