Are you curious about the many ways the prefix off- can be used in English words? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This post is packed with useful information and insights that will help you expand your vocabulary and improve your writing.
The prefix OFF- is used to indicate a separation or removal from something. It often means not on or away from.
For example, offshore means away from the shore, and off-screen means not visible on the screen.
In this post, we explore the different meanings and uses of the prefix off- with lots of real example sentences.
The Prefix OFF- Meaning
The prefix OFF- is used in nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs to mean not on; away from. Some examples:
- off-peak adjective – happening or used at a time that is less popular or busy
- off-season adverb – at the time of the year that is less busy in business and travel
- offload verb – to take a load of goods off a ship, train, or truck
- offcut noun – a piece of wood, paper, etc. that remains after the main piece has been cut
off prefix – OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com
4 Other Ways to Use OFF
off adjective – (of food) no longer fresh enough to eat or drink
- When did you buy this milk? I think it’s off.
off adverb – used to say that something has been removed or become separated
- Please take your shoes off at the door.
off preposition – down or away from a place or at a distance in space or time
- Tom fell off his bicycle.
off verb – (informal, especially North American English) off somebody to kill somebody
- The gangsters offed him after he failed to repay his loan.
The Prefix OFF- (Example Sentences)
off-air – (in radio and television) not being broadcast
・All the TV local stations went off-air for a few minutes during the storm.
off-kilter – not perfectly straight or balanced; not in line with something else/slightly strange or unusual
・After riding the roller coaster I felt off-kilter for a few minutes.
・I like your photo but it’s a bit off-kilter.
off-label – relating to the use of a drug for something other than what it was originally created for
・The use of an off-label drug requires careful monitoring.
off-limits – if an area of land is off-limits, you are not allowed to enter it.
・The teacher’s desk is off-limits to students. Our final exam is inside
off-peak – happening or used at a time that is less popular or busy
・I like riding the train during off-peak hours. They are not so crowded then.
off-putting – not pleasant, in a way that prevents you from liking somebody/something
・Marl tries too hard to be everyone’s friend at work. To be honest it’s kind of off-putting.
off-road – not on the public road; on rough ground
・ Four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles are designed for off-road adventures.
・ One of the best parts of owning an off-road vehicle is getting muddy.
|Adding the suffix Y to the end of the noun mud makes the adjective muddy. Learn more about the suffix and my blood post – https://worldenglishblog.com/learn-the-english-suffix-y-with-pdf/|
off-season – happening or used at the time of the year that is less busy in business and travel
・Off-season training is mandatory for all team players.
off-the-grid – not using the public supplies of electricity, gas, water, etc.
・The family built an off-the-grid home deep in the forest. They generated their own electricity using solar panels.
off-the-shelf – (of a product) that can be bought immediately and does not have to be specially designed or ordered (I have most often heard and used this expression as “off-the-rack” usually referring to suits.)
・ One of my friends is 215 CM tall and he has to have all his suits custom-made. It’s expensive. I’m lucky, a nice suit will fit me perfectly off-the-rack. (I’m average size.)
off-white – white, but not pure white in color
・The dress was off-white and matched the bride’s bouquet.
offbeat – different from what most people expect
・The movie is an offbeat comedy, it’s a bit silly at times but it was fun. I would recommend it to anyone.
offhand – not showing much interest in somebody/something in a way that is rude or upsets somebody
・Politicians need to think carefully about what they say. Any offhand remarks can be easily misunderstood by the public.
・Joel made an offhand comment about people with disabilities, it didn’t win him any friends.
offkey – (of a voice or a musical instrument) not in tune
・The band played well but the singer was offkey for most of the performance.
offline – not directly controlled by or connected to a computer or to the internet
・I’m taking an online accounting course now, it’s very convenient. I can study at my own pace.
・Online video games that you can play with many people at the same time are very popular.
offscreen – happening to an actor in real life, not in a film
・The actor and actress met while filming a movie and soon became offscreen lovers.
offshore – happening or existing in the sea, not far from the land
・Offshore drilling can be dangerous and expensive, but it can also produce lots of oil.
offside – in some sports, for example, football (soccer) and ice hockey, a player is offside if they are in a position, usually ahead of the ball, that is not allowed
・Warren was offside when he scored the goal so it was not counted.
・The referee blew his whistle because the soccer player was offside.
offstage – not on the stage in a theatre; not where the audience can see・The crew moved the set pieces offstage to prepare for the next scene.
off-air – (in radio and television) not while broadcasting
・The radio program was recorded off-air and broadcast the next day.
The opposite of off-air is on-air. (If a microphone is broadcasting live it will often have a light on it that says on the air.)
off-label – in a way that uses a drug for something other than what it was originally created for
・The antidepressant was prescribed off-label to treat an eating disorder.
off-peak – at a time that is less popular or busy, and therefore cheaper
・My cell phone provider only charges 3 cents a minute off-peak.
off-road – not on the public road; on rough ground
・Many sport utility vehicles are just used in the city, they’ve never been driven off-road.
off-season – at the time of the year that is less busy in business and travel
・My wife and I love to travel. Our jobs are flexible so we prefer to travel off-season, it’s much cheaper.
・We prefer to travel off-season. The airport is not so busy.
offline – without being directly controlled by or connected to a computer or to the internet
・Can I play this game offline?
offscreen – in real life, not in a film
・I saw a famous actress in a cafe once. She looks completely different offscreen.
offshore – in the sea, not far from the land
・The cruise ship anchored offshore, and we took smaller ferries to get to the island.
offside – (in some sports, for example football (soccer) and ice hockey) in a position, usually ahead of the ball, that is not allowed
・The instant replay showed the player stepping past the line. He was ruled offside.
offstage – not on the stage in a theatre; not where the audience can see
・During the play, it is explained to us that one of the characters was killed in an accident but we never see it. He died offstage.
off-ramp – a road used for driving off a major road such as an interstate
・My car’s navigation system told me to take the next off-ramp to find the nearest gas station.
・According to my map there should be an off-ramp coming up soon.
offcut – a piece of wood, paper, etc. that remains after the main piece has been cut
・The carpenter used an offcut piece of wood to make a small shelf.
offprint – a separate printed copy of an article that first appeared as part of a newspaper, magazine, etc.
・The article was reprinted as an offprint in a specialized journal.
offshoot – a thing that develops from something, especially a small organization that develops from a larger one
・The new business was an offshoot of the parent company.
offspring – a child of a particular person or couple/the young of an animal or plant
・The elephant mother cared for her offspring until they were old enough to take care of themselves.
offload – to take a load of goods off a ship, train, or truck
・The truck driver needed to offload the cargo at the warehouse.
offset – to use one cost, payment or situation in order to cancel or reduce the effect of another
・The price of any products has gone up to offset the rising gas prices. High gas prices affect things like the transportation of materials and delivery of products.
・I adjusted the company’s budget to offset the drop in sales last month.
offshore – (of a company) to arrange for people in another country to do work for it
・The company offshored hundreds of jobs to save money.
off base – completely wrong about something
・You’ve totally misunderstood the situation, your idea is way off base.
off guard – not careful or prepared for something difficult or dangerous
・The sudden increase in fuel costs has caught many people off guard.
off the beaten track – far away from other people, houses, etc.
・My family had a remote cabin beside a lake. It was well off the beaten track, I used to go there a lot as a child.
off the record – if you tell somebody something off the record, it is not yet official and you do not want them to repeat it publicly
・The President seems happy but, off the record, he’s having some personal issues.
off topic – not appropriate or relevant to the situation
・During the debate Eric kept going off topic, which made his arguments look weak.
off track – not making good progress and possibly in danger of failing
・After graduating college Spencer felt his life was going off track. He needed a clear focus and a stable job.
The Prefix OFF- FAQ
|How is the prefix off different from the prefix un?|
The prefix “off” typically indicates a physical separation or removal, while the prefix “un” indicates a lack or opposite of something.
- off-limits (adjective) if an area is off-limits, you are not allowed to enter it.
“My Dad’s home office is off-limits.”
- unlimited (adjective) as much or as many as is possible; not limited in any way
“The rail pass gives you unlimited train travel for 7 days.”
|Check out these other helpful PREFIX and SUFFIX blog posts.|
- 50 Prefix DIS- Words and Example Sentences (Free PDF)
- The Prefix Semi: A Complete Guide (Real Examples + PDF)
- Explore the Power of the Prefix Off- A Comprehensive Guide
- Master The Suffix -ANT (Real Examples + Free PDF download)
- Mastering the Suffix -MENT (78 examples, Free PDF download)
- 34 Example Words with the Prefix Inter- (Free PDF Download)
- The Prefix ULTRA- (17 examples – Free PDF Download)