off·​hand | \ ˈȯf-ˈhand How to pronounce offhand (audio) , -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

Adverb I couldn't give them the figures offhand. Do you happen to know, offhand, when he'll be back? Adjective It was just an offhand remark. She spoke in an offhand manner.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Totally offhand, but Jacob Latimore is 24, Corey Hawkins is 32 and Shameik Moore is 25. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2021 Thomas didn’t know offhand but circled back to him with the answer: Six. Amie Just | Staff Writer,, 25 Dec. 2020 Many hunters used to regularly shoot offhand, including the great Jack O’Connor. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, 6 Nov. 2020 These folks often contend that more traditional skills like shooting offhand or hitting running game are being forgotten. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, 6 Nov. 2020 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,, 12 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Joe Biden’s spending plans may be gargantuan and foolish, his decisions on the border and on Afghanistan may be impetuous and disastrous, and his offhand remarks may be puzzling and odd, but no one gets worked up about him personally. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 10 July 2021 However, the Vin Diesel/John Cena film’s sharp decline in China has little-to-nothing to do with the controversy concerning Cena walking back the offhand declaration of Taiwan being a country. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 30 May 2021 Some advisers said that such comments appear to be just offhand musings., 3 June 2021 While such a designation can be made offhand and with tenuous evidence, its potential implications are massive. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, 12 May 2021 An anonymous Chinese Twitter account, @SpeechFreedomCN, has documented thousands of cases in which the authorities have punished people for speech, even for what appear to be offhand comments. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, 1 May 2021 An offhand comment by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellenabout interest rates on Tuesday revealed what is fueling market sentiment, to the exception of almost anything else. Mike Bird, WSJ, 5 May 2021 Now there is fear that the seemingly offhand — and quickly censored — comment by George Gao, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control, could further complicate Brazil’s bewildered campaign to vaccinate its population. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2021 Project Debater could sound a bit like a politician, too, in its offhand invocation of moral first principles. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2021

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

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The first known use of offhand was circa 1668

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Cite this Entry

“Offhand.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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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


adverb or adjective
off·​hand | \ ˈȯf-ˈhand How to pronounce offhand (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on offhand

Nglish: Translation of offhand for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of offhand for Arabic Speakers


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