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[aw-fuh l, of-uh l] /ˈɔ fəl, ˈɒf əl/
the parts of a butchered animal that are considered inedible by human beings; carrion.
the parts of a butchered animal removed in dressing; viscera.
refuse; rubbish; garbage.
Origin of offal
1350-1400; Middle English, equivalent to of off + fal fall; compare Dutch afval
Can be confused
awful, awesome, offal (see usage note at awful) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for offal
Contemporary Examples
  • This is the home base of the "King of offal," Chris Cosentino.

    Fresh Picks Eli Kirshtein February 23, 2010
  • Incanto is the home base of the “King of offal,” who is known for cooking any part of any animal.

    Fresh Picks Eli Kirshtein February 23, 2010
Historical Examples
  • offal and carrion were strewn all about the place; it swarmed with flies.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • Wherever I turned the place was saturated with the blood of fish and offal.

    The Land of the Long Night Paul du Chaillu
  • I have seen Mary contending with the pigs for the offal thrown into the street.

  • I have seen poor Mary contending for the offal, with the pigs in the street.

    My Bondage and My Freedom Frederick Douglass
  • They dropped and died on the dust-heaps they had been rummaging for offal.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • Like a wise trapper, he put aside the offal to serve as bait for the traps.

    Kiddie the Scout

    Robert Leighton
  • He was crouching near François, watching for the offal of the birds.

    The Boy Hunters Captain Mayne Reid
  • By day they prowled around the camp, and fought with the dogs for the offal and the bones.

    The Madigans Miriam Michelson
British Dictionary definitions for offal


the edible internal parts of an animal, such as the heart, liver, and tongue
dead or decomposing organic matter
refuse; rubbish
Word Origin
C14: from off + fall, referring to parts fallen or cut off; compare German Abfall rubbish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for offal

late 14c., "waste parts, refuse," from off + fall (v.); the notion being that which "falls off" the butcher's block; perhaps a translation of Middle Dutch afval.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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