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offing

[aw-fing, of-ing]
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noun
  1. the more distant part of the sea seen from the shore, beyond the anchoring ground.
  2. a position at a distance from shore.
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Idioms
  1. in the offing,
    1. at a distance but within sight.
    2. in the projected future; likely to happen: A wedding is in the offing.
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Origin of offing

First recorded in 1620–30; off + -ing1

off

[awf, of]
adverb
  1. so as to be no longer supported or attached: This button is about to come off.
  2. so as to be no longer covering or enclosing: to take a hat off; to take the wrapping off.
  3. away from a place: to run off; to look off toward the west.
  4. away from a path, course, etc.; aside: This road branches off to Grove City.
  5. so as to be away or on one's way: to start off early; to cast off.
  6. away from what is considered normal, regular, standard, or the like: to go off on a tangent.
  7. from a charge or price: He took 10 percent off for all cash purchases.
  8. at a distance in space or future time: to back off a few feet; Summer is only a week off.
  9. out of operation or effective existence: Turn the lights off.
  10. into operation or action: The alarm goes off at noon.
  11. so as to interrupt continuity or cause discontinuance: Negotiations have been broken off.
  12. in absence from work, service, a job, etc.: two days off at Christmas.
  13. completely; utterly: to kill off all the inhabitants.
  14. with prompt or ready performance: to dash a letter off.
  15. to fulfillment, or into execution or effect: The contest came off on the appointed day.
  16. into nonexistence or nothingness: My headache passed off soon.
  17. so as to be delineated, divided, or apportioned: Mark it off into equal parts.
  18. away from a state of consciousness: I must have dozed off.
  19. Nautical. away from the land, a ship, the wind, etc.
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preposition
  1. so as no longer to be supported by, attached to, on, resting on, or unified with: Take your feet off the table! Break a piece of bread off the loaf.
  2. deviating from: off balance; off course.
  3. below or less than the usual or expected level or standard: 20 percent off the marked price; I was off my golf game.
  4. away, disengaged, or resting from: to be off duty on Tuesdays.
  5. Informal. refraining or abstaining from; denying oneself the pleasure, company, practice, etc., of: He's off gambling.
  6. away from; apart or distant from: a village off the main road.
  7. leading into or away from: an alley off 12th Street.
  8. not fixed on or directed toward, as the gaze, eyes, etc.: Their eyes weren't off the king for a moment.
  9. Informal. from (a specified source): I bought it off a street vendor.
  10. from or of, indicating material or component parts: to lunch off cheese and fruit.
  11. from or by such means or use of: living off an inheritance; living off his parents.
  12. Nautical. at some distance to seaward of: off Cape Hatteras.
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adjective
  1. in error; wrong: You are off on that point.
  2. slightly abnormal or not quite sane: He is a little off, but he's really harmless.
  3. not up to standard; not so good or satisfactory as usual; inferior or subnormal: a good play full of off moments.
  4. no longer in effect, in operation, or in process: The agreement is off.
  5. stopped from flowing, as by the closing of a valve: The electricity is off.
  6. in a specified state, circumstance, etc.: to be badly off for money.
  7. (of time) free from work or duty; nonworking: a pastime for one's off hours.
  8. not working at one's usual occupation: We're off Wednesdays during the summer.
  9. of less than the ordinary activity, liveliness, or lively interest; slack: an off season in the tourist trade.
  10. unlikely; remote; doubtful: on the off chance that we'd find her at home.
  11. more distant; farther: the off side of a wall.
  12. (of a vehicle, single animal, or pair of animals hitched side by side) of, being, or pertaining to the right as seen from the rider's or driver's viewpoint (opposed to near): the off horse; the off side.
  13. starting on one's way; leaving: I'm off to Europe on Monday. They're off and running in the third race at Aqueduct.
  14. lower in price or value; down: Stock prices were off this morning.
  15. Nautical. noting one of two like things that is the farther from the shore; seaward: the off side of the ship.
  16. Cricket. noting or pertaining to that side of the wicket or of the field opposite that on which the batsman stands.
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noun
  1. the state or fact of being off.
  2. Cricket. the off side.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to go off or away; leave (used imperatively): Off, and don't come back!
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verb (used with object)
  1. Slang. to kill; slay.
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Verb Phrases
  1. get off on. get1(def 57).
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Idioms
  1. get it off. get1(def 54).
  2. off and on,
    1. Also on and off.with intervals between; intermittently: to work off and on.
    2. Nautical.on alternate tacks.
  3. off of, Informal. off: Take your feet off of the table!
  4. off with,
    1. take away; remove: Off with those muddy boots before you step into this kitchen!
    2. cut off: Off with his head!
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Origin of off

orig. stressed variant of of1

Usage note

The phrasal preposition off of is old in English, going back to the 16th century. Although usage guides reject it as redundant, recommending off without of, the phrase is widespread in speech, including that of the educated: Let's watch as the presidential candidates come off of the rostrum and down into the audience. Off of is rare in edited writing except to give the flavor of speech.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for offing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • We got into the offing, and squared away for the river again.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Czerny's yacht lay, the picture of a ship, eastward in the offing.

    The House Under the Sea

    Sir Max Pemberton

  • We set there and thought and thought, and by and by I commenced to sight an idee in the offing.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • From the top of our tower we saw the Fleet far out in the offing.

    The Red Hand of Ulster

    George A. Birmingham

  • Now let us see if we can train this saker to command the offing.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin


British Dictionary definitions for offing

offing

noun
  1. the part of the sea that can be seen from the shore
  2. in the offing likely to occur soon
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off

preposition
  1. used to indicate actions in which contact is absent or rendered absent, as between an object and a surfaceto lift a cup off the table
  2. used to indicate the removal of something that is or has been appended to or in association with something elseto take the tax off potatoes
  3. out of alignment withwe are off course
  4. situated near to or leading away fromjust off the High Street
  5. not inclined towardsI'm off work; I've gone off you
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adverb
  1. (particle) so as to be deactivated or disengagedturn off the radio
  2. (particle)
    1. so as to get rid ofsleep off a hangover
    2. so as to be removed from, esp as a reductionhe took ten per cent off
  3. spent away from work or other dutiestake the afternoon off
    1. on a trip, journey, or raceI saw her off at the station
    2. (particle)so as to be completely absent, used up, or exhaustedthis stuff kills off all vermin
  4. out from the shore or landthe ship stood off
    1. out of contact; at a distancethe ship was 10 miles off
    2. out of the present locationthe girl ran off
  5. away in the futureAugust is less than a week off
  6. (particle) so as to be no longer taking placethe match has been rained off
  7. (particle) removed from contact with something, as clothing from the bodythe girl took all her clothes off
  8. offstagenoises off
  9. commerce (used with a preceding number) indicating the number of items required or producedplease supply 100 off
  10. off and on or on and off occasionally; intermittentlyhe comes here off and on
  11. off with (interjection) a command, often peremptory, or an exhortation to remove or cut off (something specified)off with his head; off with that coat, my dear
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adjective
  1. not on; no longer operativethe off position on the dial
  2. (postpositive) not or no longer taking place; cancelled or postponedthe meeting is off
  3. in a specified condition regarding money, provisions, etcwell off; how are you off for bread?
  4. unsatisfactory or disappointinghis performance was rather off; an off year for good tennis
  5. (postpositive) in a condition as specifiedI'd be better off without this job
  6. (postpositive) no longer on the menu; not being served at the momentsorry, love, haddock is off
  7. (postpositive) (of food or drink) having gone bad, sour, etcthis milk is off
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noun
  1. cricket
    1. the part of the field on that side of the pitch to which the batsman presents his bat when taking strike: thus for a right-hander, off is on the right-hand sideCompare leg (def. 13)
    2. (in combination)a fielding position in this part of the fieldmid-off
    3. (as modifier)the off stump
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verb
  1. (tr) to kill (someone)
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Word Origin

originally variant of of; fully distinguished from it in the 17th century

usage

In standard English, off is not followed by of: he stepped off (not off of) the platform
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

Word Origin and History for offing

n.

in phrase in the offing, 1779, from nautical term offing "the more distant part of the sea as seen from the shore" (1620s), from off (q.v.) + noun suffix -ing (1). Originally the phrase meant "in the distant future;" modern sense of "impending" developed 1914.

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off

adv.

by c.1200 as an emphatic form of Old English of (see of), employed in the adverbial use of that word. The prepositional meaning "away from" and the adjectival sense of "farther" were not firmly fixed in this variant until 17c., but once they were they left the original of with the transferred and weakened senses of the word. Meaning "not working" is from 1861. Off the cuff (1938) is from the notion of speaking from notes written in haste on one's shirt cuffs. Off the rack (adj.) is from 1963; off the record is from 1933; off the wall "crazy" is 1968, probably from the notion of a lunatic "bouncing off the walls" or else in reference to carom shots in squash, handball, etc.

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off

v.

"to kill," 1930, from off (adv.). Earlier verbal senses were "to defer" (1640s), "to move off" (1882). Related: Offed.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with offing

offing

see in the offing.

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off

In addition to the idioms beginning with off

also see:

Also see underon.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.