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Related to count off: count out, count against
[for a series of people, one by one] to say aloud the next number in a fixed sequence. The soldiers counted off by threes. The sergeant told them to count off.
count someone or something off
to count people or things, to see if they are all there. (See also count off.) Let's count them off to see who's missing. Count off each person, one by one. I counted each one off.
1. Count aloud from one end of a line of persons to the other, each person counting in turn. For example, The soldiers counted off one by one. This usage and the practice it describes come from the military.
2. Place in a separate group by counting, as in The office counted off the telephone books for each delivery route.
1. To recite numbers in turn, as when dividing people or things into groups: The 24 children counted off by twos, forming a dozen pairs.
2. To count to an agreed upon number so that some group begins an activity at the same time: The conductor counted the band off, and they began to play. The director counted off the choir, and they began to sing. The conductor counted off, and the band began to play.
3. To decrease the score or evaluation of someone by some amount: The professor will count you off five points if you skip a class.
4. To deduct some amount from a score or evaluation: The teacher counted off one point for each mistake. The Olympic judges counted a tenth of a point off for the gymnast's wobbly landing. The teacher counts off for misspelled words.