“One-off”

Noun or adjective phrase. An occurrence or situation that has happened or will happen only once. U.S. equivalent for the adjective is “one-time.” No U.S. equivalent for the noun. “The editors promise that Panorama is a one-off and not Volume One, No. 1 of a new publication.” (Bruce Weber, New York Times ArtsBeat blog, October 14, 2009)/”Friday, Michigan and Air Force announced a one-off game for the 2012 home opener in Ann Arbor.” (MSNBC.com, January 29, 2011) Google Ngram.

15 thoughts on ““One-off”

  1. It seems like your rule would argue for a “Perfectly Fine” vote for the noun, and a “Over the Top” vote for the adjective.

  2. In my younger British days in the Army and in “civvy street”, quantities of countable goods would commonly be ordered as “n off” rather than “n of”, as in “Helmets, tin, 1 off”; “Four-inch nails, six off”. No idea why, and it always bothered me. I suggest this may be the source.

  3. “One off” seems completely natural to me and I’m Canadian. I don’t use it regularly, but I definitely have said it, and I’ve never thought of it as a Britishism. It must have come over the Atlantic before I was born.

  4. I came across an early ‘one-off’ the other day. In Sue Thomas F.B.Eye (ep 8?) two FBI agents are talking to a European shop owner about his customers, and he says something like ‘I had a repeat client and 5 one-offs’. The two agents looked puzzled and had to ask for a clarification. I think this was some time in 2002

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