Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to off-the-cuff: in the first place, catch up, take into account, the likes of, lined up, declasse
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]
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
In an extemporaneous or informal manner.