Etymology
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off-hand (adv.)

also offhand, 1690s, "at once, straightway," from off (prep.) + hand (n.). Probably originally in reference to shooting "from the hand," without a rest or support. Hence, of speech or action, "without deliberation, unpremeditated" (1719). Related: Off-handed; off-handedly.

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off-limits (adj.)

"forbidden, outside the limits within which a particular group or person must remain," by 1881, U.S. military academies jargon, from off (prep.) + limit (n.). Earlier (1857) it was applied to cadets, etc., who were in violation of the limitations on their movement and behavior.

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off-line (adj.)

1926, of railroads, "not done on a railway;" 1950, in computing, "not controlled by or connected to a computer or network;" from off (prep.) + line (n.).

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off-season (n.)

1848, "a period when business is down," from off- (adj.) (see off (prep.)) + season (n.).

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off-white (n.)

"white with a tinge of gray or yellow;" as an adjective, "almost the same as white," 1927, from off (prep.) + white (n.).

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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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kick-off (n.)
also kickoff, kick off, 1857, "first kick in a football match," from kick (v.) + off (adv.). The verbal phrase also is from 1857. Figurative sense of "start, beginning event" is from 1875.
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