1570s, "procrastinating," from the verbal phrase; see off (adv.) + put (v.). Meaning "creating an unfavorable impression" is attested by 1894. To put off is attested from late 14c. as "defer, postpone, delay;" 1560s as "dismiss by an evasion;" 1610s as "divert from one's purpose." As a noun, put-off in the sense of "an excuse for evasion or delay" is attested from 1540s.