off the shelf

Idioms & Phrases

off the shelf

Ready-made, available from merchandise or in stock, as opposed to a special order. For example, Sometimes you can get a better discount by buying an appliance off the shelf. [First half of 1900s] Also see off the rack; on the shelf.

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