of·​fal | \ˈȯ-fəl, 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

2 : rubbish

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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

Here, most of the dishes have been borrowed from famous French chefs, and the food is old-school — the sort that’s not afraid of cream or offal. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why pricey Bar Crenn is the enfant terrible of wine bars," 18 Apr. 2018 For the uninitiated, haggis is a Scottish delicacy of sheep or calf offal mixed with oatmeal, suet and seasoning boiled in a bag (often from the animal’s stomach). Jen Banowetz,, "Itasca's Scottish Festival and Highland Games brings Scotland to the suburbs," 13 May 2018 In the chicken heart and gizzard salad ($14), the offals are well mixed (or disguised) with whole new potatoes, peas, pickles cut into thin coins, chopped olives and aioli. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Che Fico lives up to hype as most anticipated newcomer," 8 June 2018 Salmon with lardons-studded lentils gets a surf-and-turf accent from a chicken liver sauce that’s a sauce chasseur with chicken and duck offal. Phil Vettel,, "Review: Glam-rich Blvd is ready for its close-up," 24 May 2018 All the tacos are great, but the crispy tripa ($2.40), or crunchy bits of offal showered with onion and cilantro wrapped in a supple corn tortilla, will change your life. Michael Nagrant, RedEye Chicago, "A guide to eating your way through Chicago's West Side," 19 Oct. 2017 His offal dishes are particular standouts—try the tendons, kidneys or tripe. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, "A Feasting Guide to San Francisco’s Newly Glam Chinatown," 2 May 2018 France's second city is known for the dizzying variety of offal dishes served in its bouchons, its atmospheric answers to the Parisian bistros. Will Hawkes,, "A fearless foodie's foray into the bouchons of Lyon, France," 19 Mar. 2018 The choices, which cover all manner of meat, offal, seafood, vegetable, noodles, and bean curd, can be dizzying. Craig Laban,, "Warming up to Chinese hot pot at Little Sheep," 5 Apr. 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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Statistics for offal

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for offal

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

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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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