General English


  • adjective not working or not in operation
  • adverb taken away from a price
  • adverb lower than a previous price


  • preposition away from work


  • adjective on, towards, or relating to the off-side
    Citation ‘A bowler very often bowls wide of the off stump … merely to make the hitter reach after it’ (Boxall 1800)
    Citation ‘These balls may be played straight off, or between the point of the bat and the middle wicket’ (Nyren 1833 in HM)
    Citation ‘Gatting was beginning to lose interest, until the ball bounced, turned and fizzed across his ample frame to clip the off bail’ (Vic Marks, Wisden 1994)
    Citation ‘He adhered religiously to an off-stump line, snared six of the last seven wickets and returned figures of seven for 78’ (Fazeer Mohammed, Wisden 2006)
    See also leg, on
  • noun that side of the pitch on which the striker does not stand when receiving the ball, separated from the leg-side by an imaginary line passing between the two wickets, bounded at its outside edge by the third man, extra cover, and long-off boundaries, and constituting half of the entire playing area.
    See fielding positions
  • noun the off stump of the batsman’s wicket
    Citation ‘This is my area, middle, off and slightly outside off – all on the same length’ (Saqlain Mushtaq, Cricinfo Magazine January 2006)


  • A state in which no current, voltage, or other signal passes, so that a component, circuit, switch, device, piece of equipment, or system is disconnected or not otherwise operating. 2. Off (1), as opposed to on (1), when there are only two such states available to a component, circuit, switch, device, piece of equipment, or system.


  • noun a fight. A playground term also used by teenage gangs.
  • verb to kill. A word popular at the time of the Vietnam War when ‘off the pigs’ was a slogan much chanted by militant protesters. The term, possibly derived from bump off, was picked up by British speakers and enjoyed a brief vogue in the early 1970s. It is still heard occasionally, especially in the verb form ‘off oneself’ (to commit suicide).


  • noun the side of the cricket field facing the batsman taking strike


  • adjective not good, rotten
  • preposition a particular distance from or quite close to


  • used to describe a wine that is spoiled

Origin & History of “off”

Off originated simply as the adverbial use of of. The spelling off, denoting the extra emphasis given to the adverb, began to appear in the 15th century, but the orthographic distinction between off for the adverb, and for prepositional uses associated with it (‘removal, disengagement’), and of for the ordinary preposition did not become firmly established until after 1600.