off the beam

(redirected from off-the beam)

off the beam

Mistaken, inaccurate, or incorrect; going against or straying away from the correct line of thinking. Hyphenated if used before a noun. I'm saddened that the president would choose to make remarks about our troops that are so off the beam. The CEO's off-the beam plans ended up costing the company nearly half a billion dollars in lost revenue.
See also: beam, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

off the beam

Off course, on the wrong track, as in He's way off the beam with that argument. This colloquial term and its antonym, on the beam, meaning "on the right track," allude to directing aircraft by means of radio beams. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]
See also: beam, off
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.

on the beam

On course; on the right track. This colloquialism originated about the mid-twentieth century, when aircraft began to be directed by radio beams. Its converse is off the beam, meaning “wrong” or “incorrect.” Both expressions began to be transferred to other enterprises almost at once.
See also: beam, on
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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