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The off

English translation: explanation

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18:37 May 21, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase: The off
Can someone please help me to understand the meaning of the above expression? TIA.

Text is in British English and context is:

"He is patiently waiting by the door. Probably hoping for THE OFF. He lights up a cigarette resignedly."
Aria
English translation:explanation
Explanation:
"the off" usually just means the start. i would mostly expect it to be used in a sporting context, eg. the beginning of an event. possibly related to "the kick off" in soccer or "they're off" in a race.

in a theatre, i'm not certain, but it could probably still mean the same.

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Note added at 20 mins (2005-05-21 18:58:07 GMT)
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ie. he was probably hoping to be told he could start the rehearsal again.
Selected response from:

Katherine Hodkinson
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:55
Grading comment
Thank you Katherine!!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +6explanation
Katherine Hodkinson
5You already said it. Listen to yourselfzaphod
4 +1The 'off'
Tony M


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the off
The 'off'


Explanation:
It usually means 'to a greater or lesser extent figuratively) 'the signal to start' (as in horse racing)

The expression is common in "waiting for the off" meaning all ready to go, just waiting for the signal.

It's not entirely clear from your context of the argument exactly what the 'off' would be referring to, but I suspect it might in fact mean, not the ending of the argument, so much as for it to flare up --- in other words, waiting for the argument to really start in earnest.
I don not think in this context it has anything to do with the theatrical meaning of 'off' (i.e. not on stage); the way it is used would sound very odd, if that were the intended meaning.

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Note added at 20 mins (2005-05-21 18:57:27 GMT)
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Katherine may have a point there; this may be a more literal meaning than I was thinking, simply meaning \'waiting for the director to give the signal so the rehearsal could start again\'

It IS quite common even outside sporting contexts

Tony M
France
Local time: 00:55
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Katherine Hodkinson: yes, i didn't mean to say it couldn't be used outside sporting contexts. i had also considered whether it might be waiting for the fight to "kick off"...
5 mins
  -> Thanks, Katherine! No, I understand that you didn't imply that, I was just seeking to give Asker extra confirmation of its validity here... :-)
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16 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
the off
explanation


Explanation:
"the off" usually just means the start. i would mostly expect it to be used in a sporting context, eg. the beginning of an event. possibly related to "the kick off" in soccer or "they're off" in a race.

in a theatre, i'm not certain, but it could probably still mean the same.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 20 mins (2005-05-21 18:58:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

ie. he was probably hoping to be told he could start the rehearsal again.

Katherine Hodkinson
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:55
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Thank you Katherine!!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nick Lingris
8 mins
  -> thank you santo

agree  Tony M
17 mins
  -> thank you dusty

agree  jrb
21 mins
  -> thank you jessica

agree  swisstell
24 mins
  -> thank you swisstell

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
11 hrs
  -> thank you marju

agree  Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
13 hrs
  -> thank you saleh
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
You already said it. Listen to yourself


Explanation:
The off = the off stage
i.e. actors dismissed. Get off stage.
Why complicate things?

zaphod
Local time: 00:55
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
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