off message

Also found in: Idioms.


a. A usually short communication transmitted by words, signals, or other means from one person, station, or group to another: I found the message you left at my desk. She sent me a quick message by email.
b. The substance of such a communication; the point or points conveyed: gestured to a waiter, who got the message and brought the bill.
2. A statement made or read before a gathering: a retiring coach's farewell message.
3. A basic thesis or lesson; a moral: a play with a message. mes·saged, mes·sag·ing, mes·sag·es
1. To send a message to.
2. To send as a message: messaged the report by cable.
To send a message; communicate.
off message
Deviating from a planned set of remarks or positions: The aides worried that the candidate would make a gaffe if he went off message.
on message
Following a planned set of remarks or positions.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin missāticum, from Latin missus, past participle of mittere, to send.]
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.

off message

(off-message when prenominal) not adhering to or reflecting the official line of a political party, government, or other organization
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
But I, and many a nostalgia-buff, always refer to the 'good old days', - yep, that's us now, 30 and 40-somethings - when DJ Brandon Block went a bit off message on the mic, Jarvis Cocker waving his skinny little bum at Michael Jackson, Martika puffing on a Silk Cut back in 1992, when anything could happen and which resulted in ITV making sure that 30-second delay was airtight.
The man who cocked up a Scottish Cup draw - twice - then led the longest Turn to Page 66 mcrae From Back Page recruitment process in football history, went off message again as he introduced the new Scottish boss at Hampden.
After one speech, an agitated activist came rushing up to him, claiming: "Prime Minister, you were off message." To which Major immediately replied: "How can I be off message?
Rory is clearly way off message. Lynton Crosby will not be amused.
This is the problem when a politician goes off message: He or she gets in trouble.
Solskjaer admitted a season blighted by controversy has taken its toll on his players, but let slip he had been upset by what he hinted was some stars going off message at such a critical time.
However, he was less gratified with the fact Stour became sloppy and allowed the Boars to dictate the third quarter as Stour went off message.
Woe betide any individual who drifted 'off message' during the Blair/Brown years.
More recently the noble Lord's truthful revelation that "you've never had it so good" was Cameron's golden opportunity to send the "off message" Lord Young back to join the ranks of the unemployed.