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also offhand, 1690s, "at once, straightway," from off (adv.) + hand (n.). Probably originally in reference to shooting without a rest or support. Hence, of speech or action, "unpremeditated" (1719). Related: Off-handed; off-handedly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Examples from the Web for off-hand
Historical Examples
  • This Gowan had plenty to say for himself, and said it in an off-hand and amusing manner.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • I answer him off-hand: 'It is at Beaumont; there is not the slightest doubt about it.'

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • This kind of off-hand behaviour, was not calculated to retain custom.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • Bill Dancing decided, off-hand, that “the pup” was worthless.

    The Mountain Divide Frank H. Spearman
  • “I should not like to say off-hand how much of that there was,” he pursued with amusing caution.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • "Oh, I don't know," he mumbled, trying to assume an off-hand air.

    Steve and the Steam Engine Sara Ware Bassett
  • At last, that day I saw her at Stratleigh, we determined to settle it off-hand.'

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • He told me which was the in-hand ox, and which the off-hand one.

  • "Oh, I only objected to the girl," said Rectus, in an off-hand way.

    A Jolly Fellowship Frank R. Stockton
  • "It's easy to send an excuse," she said, in her off-hand manner.

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