spark off


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spark off

1. Literally, to ignite or set fire to something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "spark" and "off." He sparked off the fireworks, then ran behind the car for cover. Police arrested the man on suspicion of sparking the forest fire off.
2. To cause something to happen or begin; to set something into motion. A noun or pronoun can be used between "spark" and "off." The question sparked off a two-hour debate about the ethics of modifying genetic code before birth. The killing sparked a series of riots off across the country, which gathered momentum into a full-blown revolution.
See also: off, spark

spark something off

 
1. Lit. to ignite something flammable or explosive. The lightning sparked afire off. The match sparked off a raging inferno.
2. Fig. to cause or start some violent or energetic activity. We were afraid there would be a riot and the speaker nearly sparked it off. The speaker sparked off quite a discussion.
See also: off, spark

spark off

v.
1. To ignite some fire: Forest rangers think that a cigarette sparked off the blaze. After the fire was extinguished, investigators tried to determine what sparked it off.
2. To set something in motion; trigger something: The assassination sparked off a revolution. Historians disagree about what sparked the riot off.
See also: off, spark
References in periodicals archive ?
makes a surprise attack on our peaceful nuclear facilities it will spark off a total war,'' said the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper in a statement carried in English by the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), monitored in Tokyo.
Unlike last year's duets--Petit's Bolero and a sultry, sexy piece by William Tuckett, to music of Louis Armstrong--this year's program lacked the sizzle and sensuality needed to spark off the partnership and, all too often, the choreographic cloud canopy befogged the sparkle of our stargazing.
Oil-rich Shetland is set to spark off a gold rush - after geologists yesterday revealed "encouraging" signs of deposits in the islands.
The news is set to spark off a major political struggle as reformers and old-style Communists jockey for power.
The figure could spark off a political controversy next month when the new Road Safety Authority takes over from the National Safety Council (NSC).
With the spot-kick scores at 7-7 Young kept his cool to beat Davey Mathieson and spark off the Raith celebrations.
MOTHERWELL superkid James McFadden is set to spark off the biggest transfer tussle south of the border since Charlie Nicholas joined Arsenal in 1983.
And if Gazza, who battered his wife at the Gleneagles Hotel, gets another chance it will spark off more outrage among women's groups.
A TINY Scots island has been selected to spark off a worldwide chain of beacons to mark the Queen's Jubilee.
People picking up free shares from the building societies this time round are set to spark off a spending boom in the high street with up to pounds 7billion being splashed out on goods and holidays.
He said: "I am worried that something will spark off and light the fire again unless all sides work for peace.
DUNFERMLINE star Greg Shields last night rejected an offer to extend his contract and is set to spark off a transfer scramble.
Greg O'Dowd has turned down the offer of a new contract from Coleraine and that is sure to spark off interest from National League Clubs.
Crusaders midfielder Donal O'Brien has been placed on the transfer list and that is sure to spark off interest among National League clubs.