Word of the Day : May 21, 2014


noun AW-ful


1 a : the waste or by-product of a process: as

b : trimmings of a hide

c : the by-products of milling used especially for stock feeds

d : the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal removed in dressing : the edible parts of a slaughter animal other than skeletal muscle

2 : rubbish

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."


The city's offal-strewn alleyways were often a haven for stray dogs and vermin.

"The menu continues to stick to a general theme of upscale bar food, but it has more wild game on it, and offal." - From an article by Sarah Blaskovich in The Dallas Morning News, April 11, 2014

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "minutia," our Word of the Day from April 21? The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!