\ˈȯf \

Definition of off 

(Entry 1 of 6)

1a(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 The ship eased off a point or two.

c : into an unconscious state dozed off

2a : 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

3a : to a state of discontinuance or suspension shut off an engine

b used as an intensifier drink off a glassfinish it off

4 : in absence from or suspension of regular work or service take time off for lunch

5 : offstage The actor turns and goes off.

Definition of off (Entry 2 of 6)

1a used as a function word to indicate physical separation or distance from a position of rest, attachment, or union take it off the tablea path off the main walka 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 himdined off oysters

4a used as a function word to indicate the suspension of an occupation or activity off dutyoff liquor

b : below the usual standard or level of off his game



Definition of off (Entry 3 of 6)

1a : seaward

b : right

c : more removed or distant the off side of the building

2a : 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

3a : not corresponding to fact : incorrect off in his reckoning

b : poor, subnormal

c : not entirely sane : eccentric

d : remote, slight an off chance

4a : 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

5a : off-color

b : inferior off grade of oil also : affected with putrefaction

c : down stocks were off

6 : circumstanced worse off


offed; offing; offs

Definition of off (Entry 4 of 6)

intransitive verb

: to go away : depart used chiefly as an imperative Off, or I'll shoot!

Definition of off (Entry 5 of 6)

office; officer; official


Definition of -off (Entry 6 of 6)

: competition : contest bake-off

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Examples of off in a Sentence


She put on her jacket and off she went. The car turned off onto a side street.


She is still living off her parents. The family lives off welfare. They live off the land. They make their living off tourism.


The lever is in the off position. He is off playing golf. She is off on a trip.


The movie is about a gangster who gets power by offing his rivals. the hit man bragged that he'd offed at least three people in the last year alone
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Then cap the night off back in Midtown with seasonal craft cocktails at the wonderfully dark, moody, and very delicious Death and Taxes. Heather Platt, Los Angeles Magazine, "Reno: It’s Not Just The Place You Ignore While Skiing in Tahoe Anymore," 28 Aug. 2017 Even coming off the biggest win of his career—the Cincy title—, "2017 U.S. Open Men's Seed Reports," 26 Aug. 2017 Family and friends filled a hangar at the Illinois Army National Guard's Peoria aviation facility to send off 40 soldiers, including Specialist Dylan Ingersoll of Batavia, who are slated to spend the next several months in Afghanistan. Andy Kravetz, Aurora Beacon-News, "National Guard unit ready for stint in Afghanistan," 25 Aug. 2017 The combination of Tannehill not being all that great and replacement Jay Cutler being good enough means Miami has not fallen off much at the most important position. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Dolphins’ Double-J offense will be enough to overcome shortcomings on D," 25 Aug. 2017 First off, Squidward is a total Krusty Krab traitor and Plankton actually looks like a villain. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "This "SpongeBob SquarePants" Anime Opening Is Low-Key Nightmare Fuel," 24 Aug. 2017 Headaches are pretty awful at any time, but getting one in the A.M. is a sure-fire way to get your day off to crappy start. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Causes of Morning Headaches," 24 Aug. 2017 A flight dispatcher’s job isn’t done when the plane takes off. Allison Hope, CNT, "This Person Is More in Control of Your Flight Than the Pilot," 24 Aug. 2017 If Elsevier cuts off access again, German researchers who want to read articles from Elsevier journals, among them Cell, The Lancet, and Physics Reports, will have to resort to measures such as interlibrary loans—or go to pirate sites like SciHub. Gretchen Vogel, Science | AAAS, "A bold open-access push in Germany could change the future of academic publishing," 23 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But if the Mets hire someone to fill Alderson’s position, that new team architect could dangle Syndergaard as trade bait in the off-season. James Wagner, New York Times, "Syndergaard Returns for Five Innings in Mets’ Win Over Nationals," 13 July 2018 With Eric Thames having been signed as a free agent in the off-season to be the team’s primary first baseman, Aguilar saw most of his action early on against left-handed pitching. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar is an all-star and will compete in Home Run Derby," 11 July 2018 In an off-season when few teams are flush with cap space, the Lakers, Cavaliers and 76ers were among the only suitors that could afford him. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "LeBron James Takes His Talents to the Los Angeles Lakers," 1 July 2018 Officials are investigating a fight that happened early Friday morning that in the Union Ridge neighborhood that involved an off-duty Chicago police officer. Deanese Williams-harris,, "Off-duty Chicago police officer involved in early morning brawl on Northwest Side," 13 July 2018 Bey took to Instagram to flaunt her off-duty style in a flowy orange floral dress and Ritch Erani PVC heels. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Just Shared The Coolest Photos From Her Family Vacay," 3 July 2018 In the off-Broadway production of The Great Leap, Wong portrays Wen Chang, a basketball coach at Beijing University involved in a historic match between China and the U.S. teams. Karen Ho, GQ, "BD Wong Doesn't Want Fame—He Wants Success," 27 June 2018 Video of the off-duty agent showed him unleashing a torrent of dance moves at a Denver bar early Saturday before launching into a back handspring. Holly Yan And Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN, "FBI agent loses his gun during dance-floor backflip, accidentally shoots bar patron," 3 June 2018 Nina is set to star in an upcoming CBS comedy and Paul has moved his talents to the stage, starring in the off-Broadway production of Zürich. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley Had a Vampire Diaries Reunion," 18 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Might Laurie finally succeed in offing the boogeyman?, "The Halloween Trailer Contains No Treats, Only Terror," 8 June 2018 Unfortunately, what most people didn't expect was for sweet, Halloween-loving Bob to be offed by the Demogorgon before the season was out., "You Won't Believe Where These Dead Stranger Things Characters Are Now," 25 May 2018 In just its first week Infinity War has also already birthed an assortment of memes, as well as a fun website that reveals whether Thanos would have offed or spared you in his campaign to destroy half of all life in the universe. Emma Stefansky, HWD, "Avengers: Infinity War Has Already Made $1 Billion," 5 May 2018 She was supposed to be off by 4 p.m., but most of her kids didn’t leave until 5:30, and the teacher who was scheduled to stay late was among those who were out. Jeneen Interlandi, New York Times, "Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?," 9 Jan. 2018 By offing him in this manner, the movie can continue, without worrying about adding to its already lengthy ~150-minute run time. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "Did 'The Last Jedi' Treat Its Villains Right?," 17 Dec. 2017 Her red oak is old, wise and optimistic; home to many; observer and occasional agent; historian and storyteller with humans usually off limits. Susan Faust, San Francisco Chronicle, "Roundup of new children’s books," 27 Oct. 2017 Of course, there’s a big difference between offing a child standing next to you and saying that people ought to choose not to have that child in the first place. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, "Population Control, the Undying Dream of the Left," 13 July 2017 Off by itself on the right side of the stick’s top is a two-position switch. Matthew Hirsch, Ars Technica, "VPC’s MongoosT-50 joystick: A rare Russian-style controller for skies or space," 4 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'off.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of off


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1666, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1717, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for off


Middle English of, from Old English — more at of


see off entry 1


see off entry 1


see off entry 1

Noun combining form


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Learn More about off

Dictionary Entries near off


of course not





Offa's Dyke

Statistics for off

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for off

The first known use of off was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for off



English Language Learners Definition of off

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: away from a place

: away from a main road, path, etc.

: at a distance in time or space

English Language Learners Definition of off (Entry 2 of 4)

—used to indicate separation, distance, or removal from someone or something

: on money, food, energy, etc., supplied by (someone or something)

—used to indicate something that someone is no longer doing or using



English Language Learners Definition of off (Entry 3 of 4)

: not attached to or covering something : not on

: not operating, functioning, or flowing

: in a position that stops the flow of electricity, water, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of off (Entry 4 of 4)

: to kill or murder (someone)


\ˈȯf \

Kids Definition of off

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : from a place or position He got angry and marched off.

2 : from a course : aside The driver turned off onto a side street.

3 : so as not to be supported, covering or enclosing, or attached I jumped off. The lid blew off. The handle fell off.

4 : so as to be discontinued or finished Turn the radio off. The couple paid off their debts.

5 : away from work I took the day off.

Kids Definition of off (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : away from the surface or top of Take those books off the table.

2 : at the expense of I lived off my parents.

3 : released or freed from The officer was off duty.

4 : below the usual level of We can save a dollar off the price.

5 : away from The hotel is just off the highway.



Kids Definition of off (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : not operating or flowing The radio is off. The electricity is off.

2 : not attached to or covering The lid is off.

3 : started on the way They're off on a trip.

4 : not taking place The game is off.

5 : not correct : wrong Your guess is way off.

6 : not as good as usual He's having an off day.

7 : provided for His family is well off.

8 : small in degree : slight There's an off chance I'll win.

9 : away from home or work He's off fishing.

Kids Definition of off.


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Comments on off

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one that holds something together

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