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A contest, especially one centering around an ordinarily noncompetitive activity: dance-off; sing-off.

[From -off as in runoff and playoff.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ɔf, ɒf)
1. so as to be no longer supported or attached: This button is about to come off.
2. so as to be no longer covering or enclosing: Pull the wrapping off.
3. away from a place: to run off; to look off toward the west.
4. away from a path, course, etc.: The road branches off to Grove City.
5. so as to be away or on one's way: to start off early.
6. away from what is considered normal, standard, or the like: to go off on a tangent.
7. from a charge or price: Take 10 percent off for cash.
8. at a distance in space or future time: Summer is only a week off.
9. out of operation: Turn the lights off.
10. into operation or action: The alarm goes off at noon.
11. in absence from work, service, etc.: to get two days off at Christmas.
12. completely; utterly: to cut off communications.
13. to fulfillment, or into execution or effect: The contest went off as planned.
14. so as to be delineated, divided, or apportioned: Mark it off into equal parts.
15. Naut. away from the land, a ship, the wind, etc.
16. so as no longer to be supported by, resting on, etc.: Wipe the dirt off your shoes.
17. deviating from: to be off course.
18. below the usual level or standard: 20 percent off the marked price.
19. away, disengaged, or resting from: to be off duty on Tuesdays.
20. refraining or abstaining from: He's off gambling.
21. located apart from: a village off the main road.
22. leading away from: an alley off 12th Street.
23. Informal. from (a specified source): I bought it off a street vendor.
24. from or of, indicating material or component parts: to lunch off fruit.
25. by means of: living off his parents.
26. Naut. at some distance to seaward of: off Cape Hatteras.
27. in error; wrong: You are off on that point.
28. less than normal or sane: a little off, but harmless.
29. not up to the usual or expected standard; comparatively weak or inferior: a play with off moments.
30. affected by spoilage; bad: The cream is a bit off.
31. no longer in effect, in operation, or in process: The agreement is off.
32. in a specified state, circumstance, etc.: to be badly off for money.
33. free from work or duty: a pastime for one's off hours.
34. of less than the ordinary activity; slack: an off season in the tourist trade.
35. unlikely; remote: on the off chance that we'd find her at home.
36. more distant; farther: the off side of a wall.
37. (of a vehicle, single animal, or pair of animals hitched side by side) designating the right as seen from the rider's or driver's viewpoint (opposed to near): the off side; the off horse.
38. starting on one's way; leaving: I'm off to Europe on Monday.
39. lower in price or value; down: Stock prices were off this morning.
40. Naut. noting one of two like things that is the farther from the shore; seaward: the off side of the ship.
41. Cricket. noting that side of the wicket or of the field opposite that on which the batsman stands.
42. the state or fact of being off.
43. Cricket. the off side.
44. to go off or away; leave (used imperatively): Off, and don't come back!
45. Slang. to kill; slay.
1. off and on, with intervals between; intermittently: to work off and on. Also, on and off.
2. off of, off: Take your feet off of the table!
3. off with,
a. take away; remove: Off with those muddy boots!
b. cut off: Off with his head!
[orig. stressed variant of of1]
usage: Usage guides generally reject the phrasal preposition off of as redundant, recommending off without of. The phrase, however, is relatively old in English, dating to the 16th century, and is widespread in speech, including that of the educated. off of is rare in edited writing.


a suffixal use of the adverb off, forming nouns that denote competitions, esp. to break a tie: cookoff; playoff; runoff.


1. offered.
2. office.
3. officer.
4. official.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.