- Enter a word for the dictionary definition.
off and on
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Off \Off\ ([o^]f; 115), adv. [OE. of, orig. the same word as R. of, prep., AS. of, adv. & prep. [root]194. See Of.] In a general sense, denoting from or away from; as: [1913 Webster] 1. Denoting distance or separation; as, the house is a mile off. [1913 Webster] 2. Denoting the action of removing or separating; separation; as, to take off the hat or cloak; to cut off, to pare off, to clip off, to peel off, to tear off, to march off, to fly off, and the like. [1913 Webster] 3. Denoting a leaving, abandonment, departure, abatement, interruption, or remission; as, the fever goes off; the pain goes off; the game is off; all bets are off. [1913 Webster] 4. Denoting a different direction; not on or towards: away; as, to look off. [1913 Webster] 5. Denoting opposition or negation. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The questions no way touch upon puritanism, either off or on. --Bp. Sanderson. [1913 Webster] From off, off from; off. "A live coal . . . taken with the tongs from off the altar." --Is. vi. 6. Off and on. (a) Not constantly; not regularly; now and then; occasionally. (b) (Naut.) On different tacks, now toward, and now away from, the land. To be off. (a) To depart; to escape; as, he was off without a moment's warning. (b) To be abandoned, as an agreement or purpose; as, the bet was declared to be off. [Colloq.] To come off, To cut off, To fall off, To go off, etc. See under Come, Cut, Fall, Go, etc. To get off. (a) To utter; to discharge; as, to get off a joke. (b) To go away; to escape; as, to get off easily from a trial. [Colloq.] To take off To do a take-off on, To take off, to mimic, lampoon, or impersonate. To tell off (a) (Mil.), to divide and practice a regiment or company in the several formations, preparatory to marching to the general parade for field exercises. --Farrow. (b) to rebuke (a person) for an improper action; to scold; to reprimand. To be well off, to be in good condition. To be ill off, To be badly off, to be in poor condition. [1913 Webster]