Entries linking to off-stage
by c. 1200 as an emphatic form of Old English of (see of), employed in the adverbial use of that word. The prepositional meaning "away from" and the adjectival sense of "farther" were not firmly fixed in this variant until 17c., but once they were they left the original of with the transferred and weakened senses of the word. Meaning "not working" is from 1861.
Off the cuff "extemporaneously, without preparation" (1938) is from the notion of speaking from notes written in haste on one's shirt cuffs. In reference to clothing, off the rack (adj.) "not tailored, not made to individual requirements, ready-made" is by 1963, on the notion of buying it from the rack of a clothing store; off the record "not to be publicly disclosed" is from 1933; off the wall "crazy" is 1968, probably from the notion of a lunatic "bouncing off the walls" or else in reference to carom shots in squash, handball, etc.
Sense of "period of development or time in life" first recorded early 14c., probably from Middle English sense of "degree or step on the 'ladder' of virtue, 'wheel' of fortune, etc.," in parable illustrations and morality plays. Meaning "a step in sequence, a stage of a journey" is late 14c. Meaning "level of water in a river, etc." is from 1814, American English.
Stage-name is from 1727. Stage-mother (n.) in the overbearing mother-of-an-actress sense is from 1915. Stage-door is from 1761, hence Stage-Door Johnny "young man who frequents stage doors seeking the company of actresses, chorus girls, etc." (1907). Stage whisper, such as used by an actor on stage to be heard by the audience, first attested 1865. Stage-manage (v.) is from 1871.