also offhand, 1690s, "at once, straightway," from off (adv.) + hand (n.). Probably originally in reference to shooting without a rest or support. Hence, of speech or action, "unpremeditated" (1719). Related: Off-handed; off-handedly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Examples from the Web for off-hand

Historical Examples of off-hand

  • This Gowan had plenty to say for himself, and said it in an off-hand and amusing manner.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • I answer him off-hand: 'It is at Beaumont; there is not the slightest doubt about it.'

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • This kind of off-hand behaviour, was not calculated to retain custom.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • Bill Dancing decided, off-hand, that “the pup” was worthless.

    The Mountain Divide

    Frank H. Spearman

  • “I should not like to say off-hand how much of that there was,” he pursued with amusing caution.


    Joseph Conrad