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Use/Origin Of The Word "Off" in Machining

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  • Use/Origin Of The Word "Off" in Machining

    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.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      Chilliwack BC, Canada

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      • #4
        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.

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        • #5
          I always thought it was just a bastardization of "one of"

          Dave

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          • #6
            Perhaps from the printing industry. It makes some sense that way.
            1601

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

            Comment


            • #7
              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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
                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

                Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
                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+h...hand+etymology

                Geez, how horrible, I just did an OT.
                in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mcgyver View Post
                  Geez, how horrible, I just did an OT.
                  How offal.

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mcgyver View Post
                    Literacy? They meant "of"

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MaxHeadRoom View Post
                        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.
                        Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mike Nash View Post
                          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

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                          • #14
                            "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
                            www.neufellmachining.com

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                            • #15
                              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...

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