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1. To count in turn, as when dividing a group of people into smaller groups. A noun or pronoun can be used between "count" and "off." OK, kids, count off one through five so that we can make five groups.
2. To count the number of people or things in a group to ensure that everyone or everything is present. A noun or pronoun can be used between "count" and "off." Kids, take your seats on the bus so that I can count off and make sure everyone is here.
3. To count out loud so that everyone in a group starts something (such as a song or dance) at the same time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "count" and "off." Before launching into their routine, the cheerleaders counted off, "Five, six, seven, eight!"
4. To subtract from something, such as a score. A noun or pronoun can be used between "count" and "off." I had to count off five points for presentation because your project was a glue-covered mess.
5. To divide a group of things into smaller groups. A noun or pronoun can be used between "count" and "off." I counted off the batch of cookies so that each of the neighbors would get the same amount.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
[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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.