off Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “off” in the English Dictionary

"off" in British English

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offadverb

uk   /ɒf/  us   /ɑːf/
  • off adverb (AWAY FROM)

B1 away from a place or position, especially the present place, position, or time: He drove off at the most incredible speed. Keep the dog on the lead or he'll just run off. Someone ran off with (= took) my pen. She's off to Canada next week. I saw her off (= said goodbye) at the station. Finals are so far off that I'm not even thinking about them yet.UK I'm off now - see you tomorrow.UK If we can get off (= leave) early tomorrow morning we'll avoid most of the traffic.

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  • off adverb (REMOVED)

A2 used with actions in which something is removed or removes itself from another thing: Take your jacket off. One of my buttons has come off. She had all her hair cut off.

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  • off adverb (NOT OPERATING)

A2 (especially of machines, electrical devices, lights, etc.) not operating because of not being switched on: Make sure the computers are all off before you go home. Turn/Switch the light/engine/television off.

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  • off adverb (LESS MONEY)

B1 (of money) taken away from the original price: You can get some money off if you pay cash. There's 40 percent off this week on all winter coats. There was $40 or $50 off most jackets in the store.

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  • off adverb (NOT AT WORK)

A2 not at work; at home or on holiday: I'm going to take/have some time off to work on my house. She was off sick last week. He's off at the moment - can I get him to call you back?

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  • off adverb (SEPARATED)

in such a way as to be separated: The police have shut/closed off all streets leading to the city. The area in the park where the kids play is fenced off for safety reasons.

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  • off adverb (COMPLETELY)

in such a way as to be completely absent, especially because of having been used or killed: It says on the bottle that it kills off all known germs. It'll take some time before she manages to pay off all her debts. The good thing about exercise is that it burns off calories. Between us we managed to finish off several bottles of wine.

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offpreposition

uk   /ɒf/  us   /ɑːf/
  • off preposition (AWAY FROM)

B1 down or away from a place, position, or time, especially the present place, position, or time: There was a "Keep off the grass" sign. All the berries had dropped off the tree. He fell off his bike. We're still a long way off our target of $30,000. I hope she knows where to get off (= leave) the bus/train. How far off finishing the project are we? (= How much more is there to do?)UK We've been working on the flat for six months now but we're still a long way off finishing.UK We're not far off (= we are quite near) London now.

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  • off preposition (REMOVED)

B1 used with actions in which something is removed or removes itself from another thing: I can't get the lid off this jar. Has anyone taken a book off my desk? Could you cut me a small piece off that big white cheese? Take your feet off that seat, young man! I don't like taking money off you (= asking you for money)! Get off me! (= Stop touching me!)not standard I got the knife off of him before he ran away.

offadjective

uk   /ɒf/  us   /ɑːf/
  • off adjective (STOPPED)

C2 [after verb] (of an arranged event) stopped or given up: The wedding's off - she's decided she's too young to settle down.informal It's all off (= the relationship is over) between Kim and Mike.

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  • off adjective (BAD)

B2 [after verb] mainly UK (of food and drink) no longer fresh or good to eat or drink because of being too old: This milk smells off. I'd better eat this cheese before it goes off.

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offnoun [S]

uk   /ɒf/  us   /ɑːf/ UK informal

offverb [T]

uk   /ɒf/  us   /ɑːf/ US slang
to kill someone: They offed him and dumped his body in the swamp.
(Definition of off from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"off" in American English

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offadjective, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɔf/
(esp. of a machine, electrical device, light, etc.) not operating because it is not switched on: Was the computer on or off when you left? Turn the engine off.
not at work or school, esp. being at home or on vacation: I’m going to take a week off to work on my house. I’m off next week. The kids get off early from school today.
off duty
To be off duty is to not be working, usually because you have finished work for the day: She goes off duty at midnight. An off-duty police officer on his way home interrupted a crime in progress.
below the usual standard or rate: Sales have been off this month. He’s a good tennis player but had an off day and lost in straight sets. They took 10% off (= below the usual price) because I paid in cash.
(of an arranged event) stopped or given up in advance: Last night’s baseball game was called off because of rain.

offpreposition, adjective, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɔf/
away from a place or position, esp. the present place or position: He drove off at high speed. She’s off to Canada next week. The sign says, "Keep off the grass."

offpreposition, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɔf/
used with actions in which something is removed or removes itself from another thing: I think I’ll take my jacket off. I can’t get the lid off this jar. He fell off his bike. Did you leave the phone off the hook (= not put back in such a way that a call is ended)?
far away in time or space: Graduation is still a long way off. That’s not the right answer, but you’re not far off.

offpreposition

 us   /ɔf/
  • off preposition (NEAR TO)

near to: The island is just off the coast of Florida.

offadverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɔf/
in such a way as to be taken away or removed, esp. because of having been used or killed: to pay off debts Exercise burns off fat. They were all killed off by disease.
in such a way as to be separated: to mark off 10 feet The children’s play area is fenced off for safety reasons.
(Definition of off from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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