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[awf-kuhl-er, of-] /ˈɔfˈkʌl ər, ˈɒf-/
not having the usual or standard color:
an off-color gem.
of doubtful propriety or taste; risqué:
an off-color joke.
not in one's usual health:
to feel off-color.
Also, especially British, off-colour.
Also, off-colored (for defs 1, 2)
Origin of off-color
First recorded in 1855-60
2. racy, spicy, salty, earthy, blue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for off-color
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He tried to tell me an off-color story and forgot the point of it, if indeed it had any point.

    Europe Revised Irvin S. Cobb
  • Take away these off-color peaches and bring me something first class.

    Jupiter Lights Constance Fenimore Woolson
  • They were off-color eyes, like amber or a light wine, fringed with long black lashes.

    Legacy James H Schmitz
  • The painted stone may be detected by washing it with alcohol, when the dye will be removed and the off-color will become apparent.

  • A thing to be forgotten always is the off-color story with which some people persist in polluting the atmosphere.

    The Book of Courage

    John Thomson Faris
Word Origin and History for off-color

1858, from off (adv.) + color (n.); originally used of gems; figurative extension to "of questionable taste, risqué" is American English, 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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