to cause to explode, as by touching with a match
to cause (a disturbance, violence, etc) to begin: the marchers' action touched off riots
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
How to use touch off in a sentence
I told you we ought tove let go and skipped six weeks ago, he said, that was the time for the touch-off.Out of the Air | Inez Haynes Irwin
The second player should be waiting for this "touch-off" with toe on the starting line and hand outstretched.Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium | Jessie H. Bancroft
The simple "touch-off," and not the handing of flags, is customary in athletic procedure.Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium | Jessie H. Bancroft
Christmas prize-day of course came in for a good share of the description, and contained a touch-off for everybody.The Fifth Form at Saint Dominic's | Talbot Baines Reed
Other Idioms and Phrases with touch off
Cause to explode or fire; also, initiate, trigger. For example, The boys touched off a whole line of firecrackers, or These disclosures will touch off a public uproar. This idiom comes from early firearms, which were set off by putting a light to the touch-hole. Its figurative use dates from the late 1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.