off the cuff


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off the cuff

Casually and spontaneously; without planning or preparation. Often hyphenated. I didn't have time to organize my thoughts, so I just spoke off the cuff. The senator has become known for making off-the-cuff remarks that create controversy.
See also: cuff, off

off-the-cuff

Fig. spontaneous; without preparation or rehearsal. Her remarks were off-the-cuff, but very sensible. I'm not very good at making speeches off-the-cuff.

off the cuff

Impromptu, extemporaneous, as in His speech was entirely off the cuff. This term supposedly alludes to the practice of speakers making last-minute notes on the cuff of a shirtsleeve. [1930s]
See also: cuff, off

off-the-cuff

COMMON An off-the-cuff remark, speech or decision is one that was not planned or thought about before. I'm sorry — I didn't mean any offence. It was a flippant, off-the-cuff remark. She delivered a brilliant off-the-cuff speech completely without notes. This wasn't just an off-the-cuff decision. Note: If you say something off the cuff, you say it without planning it or thinking about it. Eisenman was speaking off the cuff, and it's possible that my tape recorder did not catch every last word. His remarks — apparently made off-the-cuff — have raised a storm of protest. Note: One explanation for this expression is that after-dinner speakers used to write notes on the cuffs of their shirts, to remind them of what to say. Another explanation is that in the early days of cinema, directors sometimes wrote notes on their cuffs during the filming of a scene, to remind them of what they wanted to say to the actors.

off the cuff

without preparation. informal
This expression refers to impromptu notes made on a speaker's shirt cuffs as an aid to memory.
See also: cuff, off

ˌoff the ˈcuff

without previous thought or preparation: I don’t know how you can stand up and give an after-dinner speech off the cuff like that.an off-the-cuff remarkThis expression refers to the fact that in the past, people sometimes used to write notes on their cuffs (= the end of a shirt sleeve at the wrist) to remind them what to say when they were speaking in public, etc.
See also: cuff, off

off the cuff

In an extemporaneous or informal manner.
See also: cuff, off

off the cuff

Extemporaneously, impromptu. This term allegedly comes from the practice of after-dinner speakers making notes for a speech on the cuff of their shirtsleeve at the last minute, as opposed to preparing a speech well beforehand. It originated in America in the 1930s. See also off the top of one's head.
See also: cuff, off
References in periodicals archive ?
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