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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
In the meantime, there's no harm in trying to be more flirtatious in the hope it might spark something off.
"We were 3-1 down and in previous games it could have turned into four or five because our heads were down and people were looking at each other thinking 'who's going to spark something off?' "But as a team we did it and it changed.
It was the first hint of an excuse, although he quickly gave another by saying, 'Maybe we need a referee's decision or a little bit of luck to go our way to spark something off for us.'
I hope this will start a debate and spark something off, especially in the farming communities who are crucial to this, where they may wonder why fields are, for example, called Corney Horners, Klondike, or Blakeshopesburnhaugh."
'There doesn't seem to be a lot happening at present but if you get Wayne Elcock, Matthew Macklin, Frankie and me all in the same gym then perhaps we could spark something off.
'That is only sustainable for a short time, though, and it would need us to go full-time to spark something off.