[aw-fing, of-ing]


the more distant part of the sea seen from the shore, beyond the anchoring ground.
a position at a distance from shore.

Nearby words

  1. officiate,
  2. officinal,
  3. officious,
  4. officious will,
  5. officiously,
  6. offish,
  7. offishly,
  8. offlap,
  9. offline,
  10. offload


    in the offing,
    1. at a distance but within sight.
    2. in the projected future; likely to happen: A wedding is in the offing.

Origin of offing

First recorded in 1620–30; off + -ing1


[awf, of]


so as to be no longer supported or attached: This button is about to come off.
so as to be no longer covering or enclosing: to take a hat off; to take the wrapping off.
away from a place: to run off; to look off toward the west.
away from a path, course, etc.; aside: This road branches off to Grove City.
so as to be away or on one's way: to start off early; to cast off.
away from what is considered normal, regular, standard, or the like: to go off on a tangent.
from a charge or price: He took 10 percent off for all cash purchases.
at a distance in space or future time: to back off a few feet; Summer is only a week off.
out of operation or effective existence: Turn the lights off.
into operation or action: The alarm goes off at noon.
so as to interrupt continuity or cause discontinuance: Negotiations have been broken off.
in absence from work, service, a job, etc.: two days off at Christmas.
completely; utterly: to kill off all the inhabitants.
with prompt or ready performance: to dash a letter off.
to fulfillment, or into execution or effect: The contest came off on the appointed day.
into nonexistence or nothingness: My headache passed off soon.
so as to be delineated, divided, or apportioned: Mark it off into equal parts.
away from a state of consciousness: I must have dozed off.
Nautical. away from the land, a ship, the wind, etc.


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.
deviating from: off balance; off course.
below or less than the usual or expected level or standard: 20 percent off the marked price; I was off my golf game.
away, disengaged, or resting from: to be off duty on Tuesdays.
Informal. refraining or abstaining from; denying oneself the pleasure, company, practice, etc., of: He's off gambling.
away from; apart or distant from: a village off the main road.
leading into or away from: an alley off 12th Street.
not fixed on or directed toward, as the gaze, eyes, etc.: Their eyes weren't off the king for a moment.
Informal. from (a specified source): I bought it off a street vendor.
from or of, indicating material or component parts: to lunch off cheese and fruit.
from or by such means or use of: living off an inheritance; living off his parents.
Nautical. at some distance to seaward of: off Cape Hatteras.


in error; wrong: You are off on that point.
slightly abnormal or not quite sane: He is a little off, but he's really harmless.
not up to standard; not so good or satisfactory as usual; inferior or subnormal: a good play full of off moments.
no longer in effect, in operation, or in process: The agreement is off.
stopped from flowing, as by the closing of a valve: The electricity is off.
in a specified state, circumstance, etc.: to be badly off for money.
(of time) free from work or duty; nonworking: a pastime for one's off hours.
not working at one's usual occupation: We're off Wednesdays during the summer.
of less than the ordinary activity, liveliness, or lively interest; slack: an off season in the tourist trade.
unlikely; remote; doubtful: on the off chance that we'd find her at home.
more distant; farther: the off side of a wall.
(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.
starting on one's way; leaving: I'm off to Europe on Monday. They're off and running in the third race at Aqueduct.
lower in price or value; down: Stock prices were off this morning.
Nautical. noting one of two like things that is the farther from the shore; seaward: the off side of the ship.
Cricket. noting or pertaining to that side of the wicket or of the field opposite that on which the batsman stands.


the state or fact of being off.
Cricket. the off side.

verb (used without object)

to go off or away; leave (used imperatively): Off, and don't come back!

verb (used with object)

Slang. to kill; slay.

Verb Phrases

get off on. get1(def 57).

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for offing

British Dictionary definitions for offing



the part of the sea that can be seen from the shore
in the offing likely to occur soon



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
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
out of alignment withwe are off course
situated near to or leading away fromjust off the High Street
not inclined towardsI'm off work; I've gone off you


(particle) so as to be deactivated or disengagedturn off the radio
  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
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
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
away in the futureAugust is less than a week off
(particle) so as to be no longer taking placethe match has been rained off
(particle) removed from contact with something, as clothing from the bodythe girl took all her clothes off
offstagenoises off
commerce (used with a preceding number) indicating the number of items required or producedplease supply 100 off
off and on or on and off occasionally; intermittentlyhe comes here off and on
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


not on; no longer operativethe off position on the dial
(postpositive) not or no longer taking place; cancelled or postponedthe meeting is off
in a specified condition regarding money, provisions, etcwell off; how are you off for bread?
unsatisfactory or disappointinghis performance was rather off; an off year for good tennis
(postpositive) in a condition as specifiedI'd be better off without this job
(postpositive) no longer on the menu; not being served at the momentsorry, love, haddock is off
(postpositive) (of food or drink) having gone bad, sour, etcthis milk is off


  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


(tr) to kill (someone)

Word Origin for off

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


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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with offing


see in the offing.


In addition to the idioms beginning with off

  • off again, on again
  • off and on
  • off and running
  • off balance
  • off base
  • off duty
  • off guard
  • off of
  • off one's chest, get
  • off one's feed
  • off one's guard
  • off one's head
  • off one's high horse
  • off one's rocker
  • off someone's back
  • off someone's feet
  • off someone's hands
  • off the air
  • off the beam
  • off the beaten track
  • off the cuff
  • off the deep end
  • off the ground
  • off the handle
  • off the hook
  • off the mark
  • off the rack
  • off the rails
  • off the record
  • off the shelf
  • off the top of one's head
  • off the track
  • off the wagon
  • off the wall

also see:

  • back off
  • bad off
  • beat off
  • beat the pants off
  • beg off
  • be off
  • better off
  • bite off more than one can chew
  • bite someone's head off
  • blast off
  • blow off
  • blow off steam
  • blow the lid off
  • bore to death (the pants off)
  • branch off
  • break off
  • bring off
  • browned off
  • brush off
  • bug off
  • bump off
  • burn off
  • buy off
  • buzz off
  • call off
  • cap it all (off)
  • carry off
  • cart off
  • cast off
  • change off
  • charge off
  • check off
  • cheesed off
  • chip off the old block
  • choke off
  • clear out (off)
  • come off
  • come off it
  • cool down (off)
  • cool off
  • count off
  • cry off
  • cut off
  • cut off one's nose
  • dash off
  • day off
  • die off
  • doze off
  • drop off
  • dust off
  • ease off
  • easy as pie (rolling off a log)
  • fall away (off)
  • fat of the land, live off the
  • fight off
  • fire off
  • first off
  • fish or cut bait (shit or get off)
  • fly off the handle
  • fob off
  • fuck off
  • get off
  • get off on
  • get off one's tail
  • get off the dime
  • get off the ground
  • give off
  • give the shirt off one's back
  • go off
  • go off the deep end
  • goof off
  • hands off
  • hats off to
  • haul off
  • have it (off)
  • head off
  • high off the hog
  • hit it off
  • hold off
  • hot off the press
  • jerk off
  • jumping-off place
  • keep off
  • kick off
  • kill off
  • kiss off
  • knock it off
  • knock off
  • knock someone's block off
  • knock the socks off
  • laugh off
  • lay off
  • lead off
  • leave off
  • let off
  • level off
  • lift off
  • like a chicken with its head cut off
  • like water off a duck's back
  • load off one's mind
  • log in (off)
  • make off
  • mouth off
  • nod off
  • no skin off one's nose
  • on (off) camera
  • on (off) duty
  • on the (off) chance
  • pack off
  • pair off
  • palm off
  • pants off
  • pass off
  • pay off
  • peel off
  • pick off
  • piss off
  • play off
  • polish off
  • pull off
  • push off
  • put off
  • put someone off
  • quick off the mark
  • rake off
  • rattle off
  • right away (off)
  • rip off
  • round off
  • rub off
  • run away (off)
  • run off
  • run off at the mouth
  • run off with
  • rush off one's feet
  • seal off
  • see someone off
  • sell off
  • send off
  • set off
  • shake off
  • shoot off one's mouth
  • show off
  • shrug off
  • sign off
  • slack off
  • slip out (off)
  • sound off
  • spin off
  • split one's sides (laugh one's head off)
  • sponge on (off)
  • square off
  • squeeze off
  • stand off
  • stave off
  • stop off
  • straight off
  • swear off
  • switch on (off)
  • tail off
  • take off
  • take off after
  • take the edge off
  • take up where one left off
  • talk someone's arm off
  • taper off
  • tear off
  • tee off
  • tell off
  • tell someone where to get off
  • throw off
  • trade off
  • wipe off the map

Also see underon.

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