KudoZ home » English » Idioms / Maxims / Sayings

'one-off ' or 'one-of' ???

English translation: "One off" is a noun

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:'one-off ' or 'one-of' ???
English translation:"One off" is a noun
Entered by: airmailrpl
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

07:10 Jun 27, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / general English usage
English term or phrase: 'one-off ' or 'one-of' ???
I have seen this usage several times on different Kudoz answers and have always found it strange. It seems that it should be 'one of' as an abreviation of 'one of a kind' or 'one of a series' etc.

Is 'one off' correct usage?? What is the origin of this expression? I know 'one off' appears in 1.3 million plus google references but 'one of' appears in 23.3 million references.

I got the answer below from a query attached to an recent Kudoz comment

one-off = one-of ???
=> Answerer reply: no. 'One-off' means something you only do
once!
airmailrpl
Brazil
Local time: 00:05
"One off" is a noun
Explanation:
As far as I know, "one-off" is a noun, e.g. "That's a one-off", although it does mean one of a kind, or unique. And it can mean something that only occurs once.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 mins (2004-06-27 07:14:37 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

These two phrases might help:

\"That\'s a one-off\", not \"That\'s a one-of\".

But: \"It\'s one of a kind\", not \"one off a kind\".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 mins (2004-06-27 07:16:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

A definition is here:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=one-off&r=67

Something that is not repeated or reproduced.

It can also be an adjective, e.g. \"one-off occurrence\", meaning something that happens only once.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 15 mins (2004-06-27 07:26:35 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

General definitions of \"of\" may also help you:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=of&r=67

But at any rate, you wouldn\'t say \"one-of occurrence\" either, so the person who told you that \"one-off\" and \"one-of\" are not the same was absolutely correct.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 40 mins (2004-06-27 08:51:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In the KudoZ question you have referenced, \"one-off\" is being used as an adjective, to mean something like a unique service, or service performed only once. In this context, you would not say \"one-of service\", although ggrozoma says, it would be possible to say \"one-of-a-kind service\" (not \"one-off-a-kind\" service though!).
Selected response from:

Rowan Morrell
New Zealand
Local time: 15:05
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
4 +17"One off" is a nounRowan Morrell
5 +4Both are correct; "one of" not usually hyphenated, "one-off" always hyphenated
Paul Dixon
5 +3Both are correctDavid Moore


Discussion entries: 8





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Both are correct


Explanation:
in their context.
I tried to find the comment you found "attached to *A* recent kudoz comment", but without success. The context MAY have been correct for the assertion made, but as Rowan (and my dictionary agrees) says, the expression "one-off" is chiefly regarded as a British English "thing", although it also appears in commerce quite commonly, in lists of components or ingredients, as meaning "Item: one (only) of such-and-such", written e.g.: "Pulley wheel AX 25241 4" - one off", in which case it is NOT written with a hyphen.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 19 mins (2004-06-27 08:30:27 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thanks for that; yes, with the hyphen it does mean once only, or perhaps unique. I repeat, as an item in a list, NO hyphen....

David Moore
Local time: 05:05
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Orla Ryan
20 mins

agree  DGK T-I: Mr.Webster says chiefly a British thing(and it's very familiar in the UK),but interestingly DanMcCosh uses it in the NYTimes,writing about Mr.Bortz' collection of one-off custom-built cars(wh.had short, surreal lives on display at auto shows(50's & 60's))
6 hrs

agree  Will Matter: this is primarily British usage in my experience, not used much in the U.S.
21 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +17
"One off" is a noun


Explanation:
As far as I know, "one-off" is a noun, e.g. "That's a one-off", although it does mean one of a kind, or unique. And it can mean something that only occurs once.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 mins (2004-06-27 07:14:37 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

These two phrases might help:

\"That\'s a one-off\", not \"That\'s a one-of\".

But: \"It\'s one of a kind\", not \"one off a kind\".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 mins (2004-06-27 07:16:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

A definition is here:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=one-off&r=67

Something that is not repeated or reproduced.

It can also be an adjective, e.g. \"one-off occurrence\", meaning something that happens only once.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 15 mins (2004-06-27 07:26:35 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

General definitions of \"of\" may also help you:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=of&r=67

But at any rate, you wouldn\'t say \"one-of occurrence\" either, so the person who told you that \"one-off\" and \"one-of\" are not the same was absolutely correct.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 40 mins (2004-06-27 08:51:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In the KudoZ question you have referenced, \"one-off\" is being used as an adjective, to mean something like a unique service, or service performed only once. In this context, you would not say \"one-of service\", although ggrozoma says, it would be possible to say \"one-of-a-kind service\" (not \"one-off-a-kind\" service though!).

Rowan Morrell
New Zealand
Local time: 15:05
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Pnina
18 mins
  -> Thanks Pnina.

agree  Kit Cree: also like 'it's a fluke'
21 mins
  -> Yes, that too. Thanks Kit.

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
32 mins
  -> Thanks Vicky.

agree  ggrozoma: This term seems to have originated in manufacturing. I'm not sure, but I think the idea is that only one comes off the production line. Confusing because "one-of-a-kind" is a synonym.
1 hr
  -> Thanks for that info, ggrozoma.

agree  Anjo Sterringa: A custom-built yacht is also a one-off:The designers base is very wide, as every yacht we build today is individualand highly customized. Many of them are so called "One Off" yachts. According to the Collins (see wordbank for 'off') written with a hyphen
2 hrs
  -> It is indeed written with a hyphen, which I should have put in my answer field (but have used ever since). Thanks for your interesting comments, anjoboira.

agree  John Bowden: You're right - an adjective ("a one-off occurrence") and a noun (it's a real one-oof" - noun understood): manufacturing origin is likely, similar to "They broke the mould when they made him" - i.e he's inimitable, a true original etc.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks for the informative comments, John.

agree  Lesley Clayton
4 hrs
  -> Thanks Lesley.

agree  Milena Sahakian
5 hrs
  -> Thanks Melany.

agree  Nanny Wintjens
5 hrs
  -> Thanks N. Wintjens.

agree  chopra_2002
5 hrs
  -> Thanks langclinic.

agree  DGK T-I: noun & adjective ~
6 hrs
  -> Yes indeed. Thanks Giuli.

agree  Enza Longo
8 hrs
  -> Thanks Enza.

agree  Will Matter
22 hrs
  -> Thanks willmatter.

agree  Tony M: Yes, I believe the origin is rather military, inventory, as in "shaving mug, sergeant, for the use of: one off; it is a way of making a clear distinction between a qty and some other figure; as in "2 off 6-ft planks"
1 day33 mins
  -> Very interesting - thanks Dusty.

agree  vixen
1 day1 hr
  -> Thanks Vixen.

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
4 days
  -> Thanks Marju.

agree  Jamie Richards
4 days
  -> Thanks Jamie.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +4
Both are correct; "one of" not usually hyphenated, "one-off" always hyphenated


Explanation:
The meaning is quite different.

"One-off" (always hyphenated) refers to something that will happen only once, never be repeated. Can be used as an adjective: "a one-off payment". "I was sorry to hear about the accident, but I'm sure it was a one-off". I guess it could come from "(only) one off (the production line)".

"One of" (never hyphenated unless part of an adjectival expression, always takes a complement): Means a member of a group (or a set, for the mathematics wizards). Organising (or "organizing" if you are American) PowWows is one of the ways to get KudoZ points.
As an adjective: This was a one-of-a-kind experience.

Paul Dixon
Brazil
Local time: 00:05
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Eva Karpouzi
8 hrs

agree  Will Matter
11 hrs

agree  Tony M: I would agree that 'one-off' is more often hyphenated, at least when used as an adj. (even where a noun is implied); I think it is quite often not hyphenated when used purely as a noun...
13 hrs

agree  Albert Gomperts
4253 days
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search