Etymology
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trade-off (n.)

also tradeoff, "sacrifice of one benefit for another," 1959, from verbal phrase to trade off; see trade (v.) + off (adv.).

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off-road (adj.)

"used, meant to be used, or taking place away from roads," 1949, from off- (adj.) (see off (prep.)) + road.

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push-off (n.)

"act of pushing off" (a boat, from the land), 1902, from the verbal phrase; see push (v.) + off (adv.).

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tip-off (n.)

1901 in reference to information, from tip (v.2) + off (adv.). From 1924 in basketball, from tip (v.3).

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face-off (n.)

also faceoff, 1886 in sports (hockey, etc., originally lacrosse), from verbal phrase in a sports sense, attested from 1867 (see face (v.) + off (adv.)); the off perhaps is based on stand-off or similar constructions.

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lift-off (adj.)

"removable by lifting," 1907, from the verbal phrase, from lift (v.) + off (adv.)

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off-color (adj.)

1858, "defective or inferior because not of a natural or proper color," from off (prep.) + color (n.); originally used of gems; figurative extension to "not of the proper character, of questionable taste, risqué" is American English, 1867.

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off-key (adv.)

by 1911, of music or singing, "not having the correct tone or pitch, out of tune," from off (prep.) + musical sense of key (n.1). Figurative sense "not in accordance with what is appropriate in the circumstances" is by 1943.

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back off (v.)

"retreat, stop annoying someone," by 1938, from the verbal phrase, from back (v.) + off (adv.).

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cut-off (n.)

also cutoff, 1640s, "act of cutting off," also "portion cut off," from verbal phrase cut off (see cut (v.) + off (adv.)). Sense of "new and shorter channel formed on a river" (especially the Mississippi) is from 1773; of road that cut off or shorten a route, from 1806; of clothing (adj.), from 1840. Cutoffs "jeans or other long pants trimmed down to be shorts" is by 1967.

The verbal phrase is attested from late 14c. as "detach by cutting;" from 1570s as "exclude from access" and "bring to an abrupt end;" and from 1590s as "intercept, stop the flow or passage of."

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