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Paul Alciatore
12-13-2016, 10:13 PM
I have heard the expression "one off" used to indicate a part or item where only one will be made. I have also heard "off" used to indicate that more than one is to be made or used; "10 off".

Then in England they call a bench grinder an "off hand grinder".

Where does this use or these uses of the word "off" come from? Cut one off, perhaps? A perversion of "one of ..."? Or what? Perhaps some more ancient usage? How long has this language been around? And then, what about the "off hand grinder"?

Inquiring minds want to know! At least, I want to know.

CalM
12-13-2016, 10:25 PM
I have heard the expression "one off" used to indicate a part or item where only one will be made. I have also heard "off" used to indicate that more than one is to be made or used; "10 off".

Then in England they call a bench grinder an "off hand grinder".

Where does this use or these uses of the word "off" come from? Cut one off, perhaps? A perversion of "one of ..."? Or what? Perhaps some more ancient usage? How long has this language been around? And then, what about the "off hand grinder"?

Inquiring minds want to know! At least, I want to know.

Off hand, I don't ever recall such a question posed before. ;-) nft

BCRider
12-13-2016, 11:01 PM
The phrase "off hand" shows up in a wide array of settings so that one is likely not related to machining in any major way. And in fact at least at some point or in some cases it is joined into a single word on it's own or as the root of another term. "Offhandedness" for example.

1 off? Not sure. But I found this that suggests it may be from Britain and related to foundry work. If so I suspect it goes back a lot further than the 1930's.

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-one4.htm

And certainly in reading stories related to working in plants and such from back around the war time the use of "number off" in writing and on drawings was common. I've seen this myself in my early jobs here in the mid 70's when I started out. Mind you Canada is/was strongly affected by British vernacular in the work place in those days.

MaxHeadRoom
12-13-2016, 11:02 PM
It comes from a production line or similar to describe when you only want one of an item, as in 'one off the line' 'or off the machine' etc.
Very common form of describing a single production item.
I have used it and heard it used since the '50's in the UK especially.
Max.

becksmachine
12-13-2016, 11:52 PM
I always thought it was just a bastardization of "one of"

Dave

J Tiers
12-14-2016, 12:10 AM
Perhaps from the printing industry. It makes some sense that way.

boslab
12-14-2016, 05:01 AM
I asked that question when I started in a drawing office years ago, why not just write 1 in the quantity what I was told was that the number in the quantity was terminated with a text to eliminate adding zeros or other numbers thus altering the number made, a supplier could add a zero and make 10 and the list was a contract, you could end up being charged for 10 legally so one of prevented it, eg 1 off, if you add A zero it is obvious as the single space disappears, on big jobs the quantity also had to be written in words, one off, one hundred off, etc as well as numbers, like writing the amount in words on a cheque.
I did see what happens when quantity was specified by weight, a part weighing 125 g hot turned into 1250 kg ( a lot more than was needed!) so the same was applied to weights, it had to be written in words.
The off part apparently was the amount being pulled out of stock, or off stock
Mark

Mcgyver
12-14-2016, 07:51 AM
I have heard the expression "one off" used to indicate a part or item where only one will be made. I have also heard "off" used to indicate that more than one is to be made or used; "10 off".

Then in England they call a bench grinder an "off hand grinder".

Where does this use or these uses of the word "off" come from? Cut one off, perhaps? A perversion of "one of ..."? Or what? Perhaps some more ancient usage? How long has this language been around? And then, what about the "off hand grinder"?

Inquiring minds want to know! At least, I want to know.

must be a slow day at rock pile....anyway


I have heard the expression "one off" used to indicate a part or item where only one will be made. I have also heard "off" used to indicate that more than one is to be made or used; "10 off".

Literacy? They meant "of"


Where does this use or these uses of the word "off" come from? Cut one off, perhaps? A perversion of "one of ..."? Or what? Perhaps some more ancient usage? How long has this language been around? And then, what about the "off hand grinder"?

if you want to know the orgin or words or expressions, its call etymology....include that word in your search often helps. ie

https://www.google.ca/search?q=off+hand+entomoloy&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=6j5RWOyWGoGZjwTfrrJo#q=off+hand+etymology

Geez, how horrible, I just did an OT.

Mike Nash
12-14-2016, 07:58 AM
Geez, how horrible, I just did an OT.

How offal.

They just make that etymology stuff up best I can tell.

Lew Hartswick
12-14-2016, 08:04 AM
Literacy? They meant "of"

.
Simply a matter of key bounce. :-)
...lew...

MaxHeadRoom
12-14-2016, 09:40 AM
Google
Britishinformal
adjective
adjective: one-off

1.
done, made, or happening only once and not repeated.
"one-off tax deductible donations to charity"

noun
noun: one-off; plural noun: one-offs

1.
something done, made, or happening only once, not as part of a regular sequence.
"the meeting is a one-off"
a person who is unusual or unique, especially in an admirable way.
"he's a one-off, no one else has his skills"

This is also the way I have always known it to be.
Max.

lynnl
12-14-2016, 10:08 AM
Google
Britishinformal
adjective
adjective: one-off

1.
done, made, or happening only once and not repeated.
"one-off tax deductible donations to charity"

noun
noun: one-off; plural noun: one-offs

1.
something done, made, or happening only once, not as part of a regular sequence.
"the meeting is a one-off"
a person who is unusual or unique, especially in an admirable way.
"he's a one-off, no one else has his skills"

This is also the way I have always known it to be.
Max.

The issue is NOT the meaning of the term, but rather the origin or derivation.

I kind of like that set forth in the link BCRider posted.

Georgineer
12-14-2016, 12:04 PM
How offal.

They just make that etymology stuff up best I can tell.

Certainly so with a lot of what you read on the internet - I call it etymythology.

George

dneufell
12-14-2016, 12:18 PM
"must be a slow day at rock pile...."
lol
now I am picturing a couple of cave men back in the day out hunting dinosaurs having to kill a little time making small talk. too funny

A.K. Boomer
12-14-2016, 12:28 PM
Word "off" was used quite frequently at the shop I used to work at, usually accompanied by a pretty nasty word just before it...

hope this helps...

Baz
12-14-2016, 12:57 PM
"must be a slow day at rock pile...."
lol
now I am picturing a couple of cave men back in the day out hunting dinosaurs having to kill a little time making small talk. too funny

There you have it "I will have 2 stones off that pile if rocks please". In a market everything (not liquid) would be in piles. Else it was on a tree " Get me two plums off that tree" Before engineering even existed the only thing cavemen exchanged that wasn't alive on 2 or 4 legs was food. Apples, fish, whatever was in a pile. You put it on or took it off.

mklotz
12-14-2016, 01:10 PM
Judging from the spelling on the internet, most folks don't know the difference between "off" an "of" anyway, so differentiating the usage seems a waste of time.

Toolguy
12-14-2016, 01:34 PM
Word "off" was used quite frequently at the shop I used to work at, usually accompanied by a pretty nasty word just before it...

hope this helps...

Beat me to it Boomer...

J Tiers
12-14-2016, 01:45 PM
Molding.... "one off that pattern"....

Printing.... set up a page and then take however many impressions "off" it.

Presumably like that.


Judging from the spelling on the internet, most folks don't know the difference between "off" an "of" anyway, so differentiating the usage seems a waste of time.

And THAT is for sure an apt comment.

Internet heck.... read the NEWSPAPER, and you can easily see the effect of depending on spellcheckers.

lynnl
12-14-2016, 03:39 PM
Judging from the spelling on the internet, most folks don't know the difference between "off" an "of" anyway, so differentiating the usage seems a waste of time.

The sad thing is ...more and more people are now learning their spelling, grammar, and sentence construction from the internet.
I think we're heading back to cave drawings on the wall.



Internet heck.... read the NEWSPAPER, and you can easily see the effect of depending on spellcheckers..

Yep. My local paper, when we get one 3 times a week, is barely readable.
"...proofreading, what's that?"

mklotz
12-14-2016, 03:55 PM
Admittedly, learning to write English well is tough.

Nevertheless, in addition to proofreading, learn to spell the words you use frequently.

Assuming you can read, you must see et cetera abbreviated "etc." several times a day. Why are you spelling it "ect."?

How hard is it to learn the difference between "to" and "too" or "there" and "their"?

Mcgyver
12-14-2016, 04:09 PM
Or the frequently the miss handled "they're". Another "good" used as an adverb (gag), or vintage used to mean old (come on people it means of era, and must be used with a time frame. You can correctly say 2016 vintage for example).

The misuses bothers me, but I know I am also guilty. Internet typing is fast and furious, not essay writing. I know they're there and their but catch myself using them incorrectly and the hands desperately try to keep up with the brain.

Writing used to be of stuff important. It would be worked, revised, proof read and check.. Something you are submitting, handing in, sending to a boss etc. Now its a substitute for conversation. Few could claim to use the Queen's English consistently in conversation, complete with proper grammar and sentence structure.

The world has changed.

Paul Alciatore
12-14-2016, 04:14 PM
As in, "Hot off the presses"?




Perhaps from the printing industry. It makes some sense that way.

mklotz
12-14-2016, 04:20 PM
...Few could claim to use the Queen's English consistently in conversation, complete with proper grammar and sentence structure.

The world has changed.

If you don't practice it in speech you'll never be able to write it correctly. Use it or lose it.

And, yes, the world has changed and change is almost never good. Cell phonies, tattoos, self-driving cars, safety Nazis, etc.; you name it.

Paul Alciatore
12-14-2016, 04:24 PM
Yes that is exactly what I was asking. Where does it come from? After years of being a amateur/semi-pro in this field, I do know what it means.

Before I heard this term, I always used the word "each". I got that from some, very little actually, training in drafting and from my Army years. The military parts manuals always used the term "each". 1 each, 4 each, 12 each, etc. They would also occasionally use terms like "pair", "dozen", and others. It seems to meant he same thing. So there is apparently a widespread need for adding a descriptive or termination word to a quantity.




The issue is NOT the meaning of the term, but rather the origin or derivation.

I kind of like that set forth in the link BCRider posted.

Paul Alciatore
12-14-2016, 04:26 PM
So true. Thanks for the chuckle.




Judging from the spelling on the internet, most folks don't know the difference between "off" an "of" anyway, so differentiating the usage seems a waste of time.

Paul Alciatore
12-14-2016, 04:28 PM
That's an interesting point of view. It seems to be a good possibility for explaining it. Thanks.




Molding.... "one off that pattern"....

Printing.... set up a page and then take however many impressions "off" it.

Presumably like that.



And THAT is for sure an apt comment.

Internet heck.... read the NEWSPAPER, and you can easily see the effect of depending on spellcheckers.

Paul Alciatore
12-14-2016, 04:34 PM
It is even worse than that. They are getting it from the Microsoft idea of a spelling checker. The spelling checkers that are used by the Microsoft programs are pathetic.

And capitalization is totally non existent. But I tell myself that this is a machining board, not an English language one. So I bite my tongue.




The sad thing is ...more and more people are now learning their spelling, grammar, and sentence construction from the internet.
I think we're heading back to cave drawings on the wall.

.

Yep. My local paper, when we get one 3 times a week, is barely readable.
"...proofreading, what's that?"

Mcgyver
12-14-2016, 04:45 PM
And, yes, the world has changed and change is almost never good. Cell phonies, tattoos, self-driving cars, safety Nazis, etc.; you name it.

Wow, That is an unbelievable statement, we have to try and cheer you up. When did the clock start on change never being good? When you were 18? Pretty sure self mutilation, useless silly servants, monsters and genocide have been around for awhile......and smart phones and self driving cars, friggin awesome. When did you want to go back to?
before he discovery of electricity, germ theory or penicillin? Earlier? Maybe serfdom and trial by ordeal? The past was never that great, its a mental trap one falls into thinking it was. Truth is there is lots of change I don't like either but there is far more that is great. You have to approach those you don't like like the serenity thing else you end up a grumpy old Eeyore.

Edit: Ooops my bad, I read safety Nazis as Nazis. :)


http://i.imgur.com/oyoKdcv.jpg

mklotz
12-14-2016, 05:49 PM
When did the clock start on change never being good? When you were 18?

No, when I met my first liberal.

Mcgyver
12-14-2016, 06:24 PM
No, when I met my first liberal.

Since we've drifted into grammar, literacy and etymology..... do you know what liberal means and the origin of the word? The current pop use in the US is flawed considering broader geography and history. I think most of us would vigorously defend being liberal, knowing its meaning. As I recall its used became widespread associated with social movement that began the French Revolution (long before the Terror) and means free man; the revolution that said no to servitude, rigid social classes and the aristocracy . Adam Smith, the father of capitalism refers to liberal as an economy that is open and market based and also refers to a liberal plan as one allowing equality, liberty and justice. Who here isn't a liberal, knowing it means valuing greatly their individual freedom?

A.K. Boomer
12-14-2016, 06:36 PM
Not to change the subject back to the OP or anything ---- but have you guys ever heard of "one op" ?

as in one machining operation of the part - clamp it - drill it or whatever - ship it...

softtail
12-14-2016, 08:01 PM
No idea, but here's a fellow calling himself oneoff.. machining content:

http://www.oneoffhandcycle.com/

And one of his Ti bikes with anodizing by his wife:

http://www.titaniumarts.com/images/ANODIZED/anoslickrock/anoslickrock033.jpg

lynnl
12-15-2016, 08:16 AM
Since we've drifted into grammar, literacy and etymology..... do you know what liberal means and the origin of the word? The current pop use in the US is flawed considering broader geography and history. I think most of us would vigorously defend being liberal, knowing its meaning. As I recall its used became widespread associated with social movement that began the French Revolution (long before the Terror) and means free man; the revolution that said no to servitude, rigid social classes and the aristocracy . Adam Smith, the father of capitalism refers to liberal as an economy that is open and market based and also refers to a liberal plan as one allowing equality, liberty and justice. Who here isn't a liberal, knowing it means valuing greatly their individual freedom?

Well now wait a minute Mcgyver. As you said before, the world changes. So "liberal" no longer means " valuing greatly their individual freedom," but rather just about the opposite.

That's the problem with constantly shifting meanings and usages in our language. Precise communication becomes all fuzzy and somewhat ambiguous.

I grind my teeth every time I see or hear the word replicate incorrectly used in the place of duplicate. An attempt (failed) to make the speaker or writer appear more intelligent.
(...and now my teeth are all worn down!)

J Tiers
12-15-2016, 10:54 AM
Well, Mcgyver is perfectly correct.

The WORD "LIBERal" contains within it part of the word "liberty".

It is obvious what the word derives from, and what it has to do with.

The misapplication of it as you suggest, to mean "the opposite of liberty", is a politically motivated distortion of the word in a similar manner to the "The people's republic of XXXXX", which hasn't a thing to do with "the people", nor a "republic", and is put forth in more or less the same way for the very same political purposes.

The alternate meanings of "liberty" include the concept of "taking liberties with", i.e. going beyond truth, or propriety, and "Sinful liberties", more or less the same thing. I assume that is supposed to be connected to "liberal".

It is a pretty common disruptive revolutionary technique to throw the meaning of language in confusion, to turn old meanings on their head, and produce uncertainty and unrest in that sort of way prior to a revolution. Perhaps that is what is intended in the change of meaning you allude to?

lynnl
12-15-2016, 11:22 AM
... Perhaps that is what is intended in the change of meaning you allude to?

Yeah, I admit my comment was kinda vague. What I had in mind is the current perception of the two political parties here in the U.S. i.e. the Democrats (liberals) seen as big government/centralized power; Republicans, more toward the other end of the spectrum. ...with emphasis on 'perception.'

The late Alabama Governor George Wallace was often heard to say "there's really not a dime's worth of difference between them." :D

I don't mean these comments to be political; I'm not advocating any position. As I said, it's perception I'm talking about.

Mcgyver
12-15-2016, 01:12 PM
Well now wait a minute Mcgyver. As you said before, the world changes. So "liberal" no longer means " valuing greatly their individual freedom," but rather just about the opposite.


Agreed the world changes. However I'm not sure its anything but a cop-out to misuse or redefine what a word means and just sort of chalk it up to change. We might all do it to some extent or another, but that does not mean its right. Literacy demands of us that while many new words come into being as is a necessity, its not ok to arbitrarily make up or change the meanings of existing words.

No doubt there are lots of exceptions, but by and large I think that's a fair statement and one that if want literacy, we should strive toward. If we all just starting making up new meanings for words, we couldn't communicate or understand anything that went on before. As you say, it increases the fuzziness. The written history would be barely more accurate than that passed down by word of mouth as we wouldn't have a clue what the original words meant. The context would be all messed up. The solution is to believe that no, using a word incorrectly does not change its meaning.

In the case of small l liberal its a particularly pertinent point as the twisted current use by many in the US is really, really out of synch with the meaning across the rest of the world and recent history.

While I'm on the soapbox, there are two additional things to consider.

Firstly, we likely all live the Western tradition. Such that is today has some major defining events since the 18th century, for example the Enlightenment, The French Revolution, the Industrial revolution and the American Revolution . These are defining things to our societies that span geography and time. The notion of liberal and liberty is keystone in each. So if the cornerstones of our societies' current traditions and structure, NA, Europe etc, and these seminal events through which liberalism is a key concept, are putting ourselves on a dangerous path making up a new meaning? Your forefathers fought for liberty, now people are using liberal as a dirty word? How can this not create a disconnect with all the liberty and liberal to the Western tradition and will have a bad outcome with half your nation erroneously thinking liberal and liberty (by its proper meaning) is a bad thing.

Secondly, we are really, really fortunate that English has emerged as the world's language. There is no other language that you can use in so many places. Get off the plane in any country and you'll be able to find someone who speaks English. The world speaks English and there is not even a close second. This creates a responsibility to literacy. The world doesn't give a crap if the Bulgarian language wanders of the path.....but they do if English does. Do you want to only have one English or should every place just arbitrary change the meaning - the meaning of small "l" liberal has not changed in the rest of the world.

Given the purpose of a language is the communicate, arbitrarily changing the meaning or words is a literacy issue imo and (for the most part, as nothing is black and white) is not ok or acceptable to write off as "hey, things change". I know I'm a heck of a long way away from English perfection so agree we need some tolerance, but that's different than giving up and saying anything goes.

mklotz
12-15-2016, 01:40 PM
The only reason we call them liberals is because all the synonyms are words one wouldn't want to use in polite conversation.

Good luck with your quixotic efforts to legislate English usage. One of its real attractions is its dynamism. There's no English equivalent to the Acadamie Francais for a very good reason. We want the language to respond to the changing environment so we don't have to use a whole phrase to describe a new concept as is the case in many older languages.

Go back far enough in any language and you can probably find that half or more of the words had meanings that differ from their current usage. So what. We're not living a couple of centuries ago; we're living today. If we ever need the ancient meanings, we have the OED.

Mcgyver
12-15-2016, 01:52 PM
The only reason we call them liberals is because all the synonyms are words one wouldn't want to use in polite conversation.

Good luck with your quixotic efforts to legislate English usage. One of its real attractions is its dynamism..

lol, that doesn't surprise, I know you thrive on having a long list of things to be miserable about. Not knowing what words mean isn't dynamism, its illiteracy and there are lots reasons why its important that were explained. It would only matter to those interested in things outside of their own little place and time so I get the notion will not have universal traction. What is surprising though that is person chastising those for not learning how to use words properly is now defending their misuse (there, add that to the list lol)

J Tiers
12-15-2016, 02:01 PM
lol, that doesn't surprise, I know you thrive on having a long list of things to be miserable about. Not knowing what words mean isn't dynamism, its illiteracy and there are lots reasons why its important that were explained. It would only matter to those interested in things outside of their own little place and time so I get the notion will not have universal traction. What is surprising though that is person chastising those for not learning how to use words properly is now defending their misuse (there, add that to the list lol)

Truth.

It just shows how "tolerance" can be relative....... Zero tolerance in some cases, and lots in others, depending on "whose ox is gored". "Tolerance" is one of those words associated with the "L" word, by the way.

As for others:

Good luck with deciding to call the traffic light color that you stop for a different word such as "blue", or perhaps "zinch". I guarantee you will not be understood, and will probably be considered a fool who cannot learn the language he grew up with.

As goes "red", so goes "liberal", or any of a list of others.

You can stop for a "zinch" light, I will continue to stop for "red".

Alistair Hosie
12-15-2016, 03:00 PM
My understanding of the phrase (off hand grinding) is to do with the fact that the operator i.e. person grinding is doing so freehand without a jig or rest etc. They are definitely called bench grinders unless they have a stand from them down to the floor otherwise they are known as floor standing or pillar grinders. Alistair

enginuity
12-15-2016, 03:16 PM
"First off" is in reference to first off the machine, or first off the production line. Today it references the first pieces of a production line that represent the part being produced.

Frequently "first offs" are requested for inspection, fit, and finish purposes.

"First off" is not a mistake for "first of".

As far as the history of it all, I have no idea, but I suspect that it started like "here are the first production pieces off the lathe". Efficiency and laziness (closely related) dropped all the other words.

As far as the rest of the thread....

Western civilization is doomed ... the question is not if it is when. It may be tomorrow or it maybe 500 years from now. If you want to argue with that, you can argue with history. I'm sure the Romans thought everything was going along really well until it just started all falling apart. Do yourself a favor and read 2 excellent books by Richard Rhodes: The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. Fascinating insight into the human condition. Change is a double edged sword - always has been and always will be.

H380
12-15-2016, 03:21 PM
My understanding of the phrase (off hand grinding) is to do with the fact that the operator i.e. person grinding is doing so freehand without a jig or rest etc. They are definitely called bench grinders unless they have a stand from them down to the floor otherwise they are known as floor standing or pillar grinders. Alistair Agreed. In shooting "Off Hand" refers to shooting a rifle without support.

softtail
12-15-2016, 03:29 PM
I always thought it was just a bastardization of "one of"

Dave

Correct.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/magazine/04FOB-onlanguage-t.html

Baz
12-15-2016, 05:03 PM
I hadn't realised how UK centric this construction is. I'm wondering how many times in my professional life I have used it with suppliers over the Atlantic to their confusion. Then what other terms, apart from the well known spelling differences, do we not appreciate are not well understood.

softtail
12-15-2016, 05:10 PM
I hadn't realised how UK centric this construction is. I'm wondering how many times in my professional life I have used it with suppliers over the Atlantic to their confusion. Then what other terms, apart from the well known spelling differences, do we not appreciate are not well understood.
If you are talking about 'one off' it is commonly used here to generally mean 'custom' or 'one of a kind'.

Alistair Hosie
12-15-2016, 06:06 PM
The Queens English is supposed to be perfect English. Today however it becomes much more difficult to accept. My wife Bronwen taught for a number of years English in der Volkshochschulle anyway the German Students had been taught from School that perfection was to imitate the Queens speaking. Here is only one instance when she came across instant trouble, or a problem. The Students rebuked her for teaching how to say for example the word HAD or any word with an A in it they were taught to pronounce that as an E, as in he hed an apple. She tried to teach them that pronouncing an A as an E was an affected way of speaking, and that perhaps the Queen may pronounce words like that , they were not generally used so, and therefore technically incorrect when used in general speech .
The Students insisted she was " incorrect" as that is how they had been taught to speak at school onwards. The School principal was asked to adjudicate So Bronwen asked them how to say "HE IS A BAD BOY". Off course they all repeated "HE IS A BED BOY". Then She asked them to say "THE BAD BOY WAS SENT TO BED". Then it became clear that it was not so clear cut. English is not that simple anyone from here will tell you that historically there are and have always been Regional speech. This can change in as little as a distance of Thirty miles. It does not have to do with our heritage here in the uk commonly regarded as English, Scottish ,Irish "northern and Southern" ,and Welsh again Northern or Southern. In between these different borders of the four countries occupying the uk or what is regarded as Britain or the British isles. I had myself a disagreement which turned out to show part of that difficulty those outside the British isles, in this case in the USA .One young man referred to Britain as the tiny Island of England .I couldn't resist pointing out to him that there was no place on the planet known as the isle of England tiny or otherwise. A lot of shall we say outsiders don't realize that Britain is not England and that four regions make up Britain as it stands and England is only about a half of the size of the UK Britain, or if you prefer the British isles. I hope that it is all about to change as we in Scotland gain our freedom independence and our final ability to run our own affairs at last. meant with genuinely no lack of kindness to England and the English people but not their government who have run our affairs for far too long without the say so of the Scottish or welsh or Northern or Irish for that matter..Alistair

Peter.
12-16-2016, 11:59 AM
I have heard the expression "one off" used to indicate a part or item where only one will be made. I have also heard "off" used to indicate that more than one is to be made or used; "10 off".

Inquiring minds want to know! At least, I want to know.

It's stock-taking terminology - it means "One off the stock list"

darylbane
12-16-2016, 12:20 PM
I wonder if there could be a connection to horsemanship. I know that in old motorcycle terminology the " off side" , correlates to the side you usually dismount a horse. A long shot but I thought I would throw it out there. :)

TGTool
12-16-2016, 04:05 PM
I heard an etymologist one time talk about expressions and their origins. He started with "Don't know him from Adam" and the longer construction, "Don't know him from Adam's off ox". He said that goes back to ox cart times where the wagoneer sat to one side of the wagon because that's where the pull lever was for the brake. Since he drove a team, he would be behind one animal, horse or ox, and further from the other, so consequently would come to know the near one better than the other, the "off" animal.

So the longer phrase suggests just one more degree of separation than not knowing someone from Adam. No intrinsic connection with the "one off" other than the implication of the "other one" or "odd one" as distinct from the usual or more familiar.