off·​hand | \ˈȯf-ˈhand, -ˌhand\

Definition of offhand 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: without premeditation or preparation : extempore couldn't give the figures offhand



Definition of offhand (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : casual, informal a relaxed, offhand manner

2 : done or made offhand offhand excuses

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Examples of offhand in a Sentence


I couldn't give them the figures offhand. Do you happen to know, offhand, when he'll be back?


It was just an offhand remark. She spoke in an offhand manner.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

His willingness to eat what the locals eat, not dismiss it offhand as weird or scary but to shine a light on it, opened a window for his viewers to the food of Thailand that will be felt for a long time. Anna Spoerre,, "Portland police offering $20,000 for information about 2017 homicide," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Morris said Monday the quote was taken out of context and was meant more as a joke or offhand comment. Jonathan Glover, The Seattle Times, "Jury awards $75,000 to Idaho couple in ‘war on Christmas’ lawsuit," 6 Nov. 2018 For a quick lesson in cool-girl cavalier, look to Bella Hadid, who headed to Jesse Jo Stark's show at the The Peppermint Club on Tuesday night in an offhand aesthetic defined by easy hair, exposed skin, and a group of in-step girlfriends. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Turns Crop Top Abs and Good Concert Hair Into a Girl's Night Out Win," 29 Aug. 2018 The assortment ranges from bright, easy-to-layer necklaces to beaded hoops and a rainbow of wooden bangles, all of which Levine piles on in a spontaneous, offhand way. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Summer’s Most Charming Bags Are Made in India, Inspired by Japan, and Arriving in New York Today," 25 June 2018 In the wake of Trump’s unexpected, almost offhand comments to reporters, the Pentagon had nothing to say about the future of the war games. Washington Post, "Trump contradicts US military stance on Korea war games," 12 June 2018 Mitchum is offhand and amusing as the super-rich tycoon. James Powers, The Hollywood Reporter, "'What a Way to Go!': THR's 1964 Review," 13 May 2018 The choreography can work in many ways: get Trump to drop another offhand remark about recognizing Crimea’s annexation, stopping NATO exercises in Europe, or allowing Russia back into the G8. Anna Arutunyan, Time, "No Matter What Happens in Helsinki, Putin Has Already Won," 10 July 2018 Sometimes the multi-prints were built into one piece, like Gilda Ambrosio’s dual-print Prada shirt, while others layered plaid jackets over Hawaiian shirts over striped tees for an eclectic, offhand mix. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The 8 Street-Style Trends We Saw Outside the Spring 2019 Menswear Shows in Europe," 28 June 2018 But offhand comments from General Moghaddam’s colleagues and family members in the Iranian media seemed to imply that his work had quietly continued, the researchers say. New York Times, "Deep in the Desert, Iran Quietly Advances Missile Technology," 23 May 2018

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


1680, in the meaning defined above


circa 1668, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for offhand

The first known use of offhand was circa 1668

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More Definitions for offhand



English Language Learners Definition of offhand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: without previous thought or preparation



English Language Learners Definition of offhand (Entry 2 of 2)

: done or made without previous thought or preparation

: casual or informal

off·​hand | \ˈȯf-ˈhand \

Kids Definition of offhand

: without previous thought or preparation I can't say offhand who came. He spoke in a very loud, offhand way …— Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

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More from Merriam-Webster on offhand

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with offhand

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for offhand

Spanish Central: Translation of offhand

Nglish: Translation of offhand for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of offhand for Arabic Speakers

Comments on offhand

What made you want to look up offhand? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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