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off-color

[awf-kuhl-er, of-]
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adjective
  1. not having the usual or standard color: an off-color gem.
  2. of doubtful propriety or taste; risqué: an off-color joke.
  3. not in one's usual health: to feel off-color.
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Also especially British, off-col·our.Also off-col·ored (for defs 1, 2).

Origin of off-color

First recorded in 1855–60

Synonyms

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2. racy, spicy, salty, earthy, blue.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for off-color

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He tried to tell me an off-color story and forgot the point of it, if indeed it had any point.

    Europe Revised

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • Take away these off-color peaches and bring me something first class.

    Jupiter Lights

    Constance Fenimore Woolson

  • They were off-color eyes, like amber or a light wine, fringed with long black lashes.

    Legacy

    James H Schmitz

  • The painted stone may be detected by washing it with alcohol, when the dye will be removed and the off-color will become apparent.

  • A thing to be forgotten always is the off-color story with which some people persist in polluting the atmosphere.

    The Book of Courage

    John Thomson Faris


Word Origin and History for off-color

adj.

1858, from off (adv.) + color (n.); originally used of gems; figurative extension to "of questionable taste, risqué" is American English, 1867.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper