get off

Idioms & Phrases

get off

  1. Dismount, leave a vehicle, as in She got off the horse right away, or Let's get off the train at the next stop. [Late 1600s]

  2. Start, as on a trip; leave. For example, We got off at the crack of dawn. [Mid-1700s]

  3. Fire a round of ammunition; also, send away. For example, He got off two shots, but the deer fled, or I got off that letter just in time.

  4. Escape from punishment; also, obtain a lesser penalty or release for someone. For example, He apologized so profusely that he was sure to get off, or The attorney got her client off with a slap on the wrist. This sense is sometimes amplified to get off easy or get off lightly. Where there is no punishment at all, the expression is sometimes put as get off scot-free, originally meaning "be free from paying a fine or tax (scot)," dating from the 1500s. [Mid-1600s]

  5. Remove, take off, as in I can't seem to get this paint off the car. [Second half of 1600s]

  6. Succeed in uttering, especially a joke. For example, Carl always manages to get off a good one before he gets serious. [Mid-1800s]

  7. Have the effrontery to do or say something. For example, Where does he get off telling me what to do? [Colloquial; early 1900s]

  8. Experience orgasm, as in She never did get off. [Slang; first half of 1900s]

  9. Also, get off of one. Stop bothering or criticizing one, as in Get off me right now! or If you don't get off of me I'm walking out. [Slang; c. 1940] Also see get off on; off one's back.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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