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[awf-th uh-shelf, of-] /ˈɔf ðəˈʃɛlf, ˈɒf-/
readily available from merchandise in stock.
made according to a standardized format; not developed for specialized or individual needs; ready-made:
off-the-shelf computer programs.
Origin of off-the-shelf
First recorded in 1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for off-the-shelf
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The robots were easy enough—just off-the-shelf stuff, really—but the costumes and kinematics routines were something else.

  • He knew where you could get plans for the robotics, and off-the-shelf motors and sensors.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • He looked nothing at all like the young men we see in the take-'em-off-the-shelf clothing ads.

    Fore! Charles Emmett Van Loan
Slang definitions & phrases for off-the-shelf



Readily available from retail sources; not customized: a drastically scaled-down program that involves purchasing off-the-shelf computer software (1936+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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