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off (ôf, ŏf)
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adv.
1. From a place or position: He walked off in a huff.
2.
a. At a certain distance in space or time: a mile off; a week off.
b. From a given course or route; aside: The car swerved off into a ditch.
c. Into a state of unconsciousness: I must have dozed off.
3.
a. So as to be no longer on, attached, or connected: He shaved off his mustache.
b. So as to be divided: We marked off the playing field by yards.
4. So as to be no longer continuing, operating, or functioning: She switched off the radio.
5. So as to be completely removed, finished, or eliminated: Will the cats kill off the mice?
6. So as to be in a state of sudden violent or loud activity: The firecracker went off. The alarm went off.
7. So as to be smaller, fewer, or less: Sales dropped off.
8. So as to be away from or not engaged in work or duty: They took a day off.
9. Offstage.
adj.
1.
a. Distant or removed; farther: the off side of the barn.
b. Remote; slim: stopped by on the off chance that they're home.
2. Not on, attached, or connected: with my shoes off.
3. Not operating or operational: The oven is off.
4. No longer taking place; canceled: The wedding is off.
5. Slack: Production was off this year.
6.
a. Not up to standard; below a normal or satisfactory level: Your pitching is off today.
b. Not accurate; incorrect: Your statistical results are off.
c. Somewhat crazy; eccentric: I think that person is a little off.
7. Started on the way; going: I'm off to see the president.
8.
a. Absent, away from, or not engaged in work or duty: She's off every Tuesday.
b. Spent away from work or duty: My off day is Saturday.
9.
a. Being on the right side of an animal or vehicle.
b. Being the animal or vehicle on the right.
10. Nautical Farthest from the shore; seaward.
11. Sports Toward or designating the side of the field facing the batsman in cricket.
12. Off-color.
prep.
1. So as to be removed or distant from: The bird hopped off the branch.
2. Away or relieved from: off duty.
3.
a. By consuming: living off locusts and honey.
b. With the means provided by: living off my pension.
c. Informal From: "What else do you want off me?" (Jimmy Breslin).
4. Extending or branching out from: an artery off the heart.
5. Not up to the usual standard of: off his game.
6. So as to abstain from: went off narcotics.
7. Nautical To seaward of: a mile off Sandy Hook.
v. offed, off·ing, offs
v.intr.
To go away; leave: Off or I'll call the police.
v.tr.
Slang
To murder.
Idiom:
off and on
In an intermittent manner: slept off and on last night.

[Variant of Middle English of, from Old English; see apo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

Usage Note: The compound preposition off of is generally regarded as informal and is best avoided in formal speech and writing: He stepped off (not off of) the platform. Off is informal as well when used to indicate a source. Formal style requires I borrowed it from (not off) my brother.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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