[ awf-thuh-wawl, of- ]
/ ˈɔf ðəˈwɔl, ˈɒf- /
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markedly unconventional; bizarre; oddball: an unpredictable, off-the-wall personality.
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Origin of off-the-wall
First recorded in 1970–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use off-the-wall in a sentence
Zentai originated in the 1980s in Japan, land of synthetic fibers and off-the-wall trends, and has recently begun migrating west.Men Who Love Lycra|Will Doig|March 3, 2010|DAILY BEAST
British Dictionary definitions for off-the-wall
(off the wall when postpositive) slang new or unexpected in an unconventional or eccentric wayan off-the-wall approach to humour
Word Origin for off-the-wall
C20: possibly from the use of the phrase in handball and squash to describe a shot that is unexpected
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with off-the-wall
off the wall
Eccentric, unconventional, as in That idea of opening a 100-seat theater is off the wall. This expression probably originated in baseball or some other sport in which the ball can bounce off a wall in an erratic way. [Colloquial; 1960s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.