Leave, depart, as in I'm off to the races; wish me luck. This phrase, first recorded in 1826, was once commonly used as an imperative, meaning “go away”—as in Be off or I'll call the police—but today is rare in this context.
Be in poor condition; be stale or spoiled; not work properly. For example, This milk must be off; it tastes sour, or The kitchen clock is off by at least five minutes. [Early 1990s]
Be free from work, school, or some other regular occupation, as in The secretary is off today, but perhaps I can find it. [Mid-1800s]
Decline, as in The industrial stocks are off 50 points today. This usage, nearly always applied to securities or other prices, was first recorded in 1929, the year of the great stock market crash.
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Idioms and Phrases with be off (2 of 2)
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How to use be off in a sentence
Although the blood-spattered offices will be off-limits, staff have vowed to continue producing the magazine.
A passing off-duty school safety officer named Fred Lucas said that he had been told the man was a drug dealer.
What 15 months in a federal correction institution will be like, according to a man who counsels to-be inmates.How a ‘Real Housewife’ Survives Prison: ‘I Don’t See [Teresa Giudice] Having a Cakewalk Here’|Michael Howard|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The NOPD fired Knight in 1973 for stealing lumber from a construction site as an off-duty cop.
The off-year special election into which Duke threw himself drew little media notice at first.
"Buy something for your wife that-is-to-be," he said to his grand-nephew, as he handed him the folded paper.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
A far-off volley rumbled over the plain, and a few birds stirred uneasily among the trees.The Red Year|Louis Tracy
Everything showed a rapid flight; even the would-be dinner of the guerrillas was found half cooked.The Courier of the Ozarks|Byron A. Dunn
Next night at dinner I proposed Sir Alister's health, and we all drank to him and his "bride-to-be."
While a one-step was in full swing some would-be wag suddenly turned off all the lights.