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 The small, bustling bistro in downtown Lyon specializes in simple Lyonnais dishes including offal, stews and goat cheese beignet. Washington Post, "In Lyon, a new museum celebrates a longstanding culinary tradition," 10 Jan. 2020 The dish at Attari amazed her because the offal, while quite common in the Middle East, is too rarely served in America in restaurants of any kind. Los Angeles Times, "Two food writers eat at all the Persian restaurants in SoCal (OK, 18 of them)," 6 Aug. 2019 Dishes often are made with offal, seafood and repurposed trimmings that usually wind up as waste. Hadley Tomicki, Los Angeles Times, "Tiger and the Horse, a new pop-up dinner series, embraces its ‘Taiwanese heart’," 26 July 2019 The wolves scattered the bones, starting that first spring, their faces perpetually crimson with the offal of the corpses. Arna Bontemps Hemenway, The Atlantic, "Wolves of Karelia," 19 July 2019 Executive chef Tetsu Yahagi and his team show off their command with offal. Bill Addison,, "Is Spago relevant? Our critic talks through three (very different) recent meals," 27 June 2019 According to The Cullman Times, American Proteins was the largest poultry rendering operation in the world and its 600-acre Hanceville plant employed roughly 230 people and can process 36 million pounds of offal per week. Dennis Pillion |,, "Wastewater spill wipes out 175,000 fish north of Birmingham," 14 June 2019 The average wholesale price of Chinese pork, excluding offal, is 20.94 yuan ($3.04) a kilogram, up 24% since May, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce. Jacob Bunge, WSJ, "Pork Producers Are Hog Wild About the U.S.-China Trade Truce," 3 Dec. 2018 This is where lamb offal turns transcendent, as grill man Shoukat Ali, who’s been at it for 17 years, chops heart, liver, and other bits into an incredible stew scented with garlic, onion, chile, and garam masala. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Andrew Zimmern's Back-Alley Tour of Dubai Dining," 18 Oct. 2018

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

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

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Offal.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on offal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for offal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with offal

Spanish Central: Translation of offal

Nglish: Translation of offal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of offal for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about offal

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