The word "off" is the opposite of "on."

  • The lights are off.
  • It sounds like the engine is off. (It’s not running.)
  • We turned off the hose. (There’s no water coming out of the hose.)
  • Take off your coat.

There are many other uses for this word.

Sometimes it means that a person made a wrong estimate or a wrong guess:

  • His calculation was off by 2.23%.
  • Our sales figures are off this month.
  • My estimate was just a little off.
  • The forecast for rain was way off. It was hot and sunny today.

This word can also mean that something is far away:

  • Way off in the distance there are some mountains.
  • The year 2100 is off in the future.

You can use "off" when something is cancelled:

  • The wedding is off.
  • The game was called off because of rain.
  • Our plans for next week are off.

This word is similar to "not" or "not on."

  • He likes to take his truck off road.
  • The painting is off center. It needs to be moved to the left.
  • The announcer said something very funny off camera. (The camera wasn’t on.)
  • Her comment was off topic.
  • This sounds like it’s off key. (The musical notes are not correct.)
  • I’m off this weekend. (I’m not working.)
  • Are you off the phone?

"Off" is also similar to "close to."

  • They live just off the highway.
  • The castle is off the coast of the island.

There are many idioms that use "off." Here are just a few:

  • He lives off the land. (He grows his own food.)
  • Are you ready to take off? (Are you ready to go?)
  • A firecracker went off in his hand. (It exploded.)
  • I feel like I’m a little off my game today. (I’m not performing very well.)
  • Who signed off on this? (Who approved it?)
  • The insecticide killed off all the mosquitoes.

Click here to learn more words.

June 2014