of·​fal | \ ˈȯ-fəl How to pronounce offal (audio) , ˈä- \

Definition of offal

1 : the waste or by-product of a process: such as
a : trimmings (such as the belly, head, and shoulders) of a hide
b : the by-products of milling (as of wheat or barley) used especially for stock feeds
c : the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal removed in preparing it for market or for consumption : variety meat

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Did You Know?

In its original sense, offal refers to something that has fallen or been cast away from some process of preparation or manufacture, and it has been used to describe such things as the stalks and dust from tobacco leaves, the less valuable portions of an animal hide, the by-products of milling grain, and the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal. The word offal, however, is not an etymological cast-off, but is an English original that arose in the late 14th century as a combination of of (the Middle English spelling of "off") and fall, aptly naming that which "falls off" or is cast aside from something else. Since the late 16th century, offal has also been used as a synonym for trash, garbage, and rubbish.

Examples of offal in a Sentence

a pile of offal from the tannery operating in the neighborhood
Recent Examples on the Web Footage from the Legislative Yuan showed offal lying on the parliament's red floor, and on some lawmakers' clothes. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Taiwan lawmakers throw pig guts in protest over meat imports," 28 Nov. 2020 As for the gravy, give up the complicated flavorings and umami hacks and flavor it with the turkey’s offal and nothing else — simplicity is often the boldest move of all. Los Angeles Times, "For Thanksgiving 2020, throw tradition out the window," 12 Nov. 2020 And while meat and offal imports also fell in October, the near-70% rise through the year so far to over 8 million tons is a record as China is forced to import more protein to cover its pork shortfall., "China’s Commodities Imports Decline as Seasonal Slump Weighs," 8 Nov. 2020 So, what about Dallas' classic snout-to-tail and offal-based dishes? Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "Dallas chefs embrace snout-to-tail cooking with pig head carnitas, menudo and more," 20 Oct. 2020 Opened in 2014, the large, two-story restaurant was a celebration of meat and offal inspired by San Francisco’s culinary history. Janelle Bitker,, "Celebrity chef Chris Cosentino's S.F. meat emporium, Cockscomb, closes for foreseeable future," 20 Oct. 2020 Corn mazes | Haunted houses around Phoenix | See Cumberbatch as 'Frankenstein' | Top Halloween costumes | Face your fears with these offal dishes | Day of the Dead events, history and more | Halloween at Calif. Alison Stanton, The Arizona Republic, "47 Halloween events around Phoenix scare up fun for all ages," 13 Sep. 2020 The man was pestilence, a virus, a stinking glob of human offal. Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post, "How to solve a whodunit when the accused has multiple personalities? That’s the twist in Joe Ide’s new novel.," 13 Feb. 2020 Frog legs, offal and escargot at fine dining establishments are prepared by some of the world’s top chefs. Nick Rahaim,, "4 tips for getting the most out of your trip to Napa Valley," 20 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'offal.' 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 offal

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for offal

Middle English, from of off + fall

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Time Traveler for offal

Time Traveler

The first known use of offal was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Offal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for offal


How to pronounce offal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of offal

: the organs (such as the liver or kidney) of an animal that are used for food

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