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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
6 sparked off massive public reactions and led to the constitution of a special investigative panel.
RAWALPINDI -- Unilateral hike in the price of 20 kilogram atta bag by Rs 40 has sparked off resentment among the citizens.
BUJUMBURA, Burundi, Ramadan 08, 1436, June 25, 2015, SPA -- Burundi's second vice president says he has fled the country fearing for his life after opposing the president's controversial bid for a third term that has sparked off violent protests in the capital in recent weeks, AP reported.
Mired history sparked off by hatred Vile deeds piled in darkness unseen But why is the future tinged oramge?
Sparks from a grinder being used by workers from another company behind the factory apparently sparked off the blaze, which was fuelled by cartons, newspapers and paper stored in the warehouse.
The gruesome incident has sparked off widespread condemnation on the way it was handled by the authorities.
And now, reports on the possible arrival of Moto X+1 has sparked off rumors that Google might launch its smartphone earlier than expected.
A late tackle by Saints' Morgan Schneiderlin on Newcastle substitute Massadio Haidara sparked off the trouble.
New Delhi: Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja have apologised for their on-field spat during the Tri-series match against the West Indies, which sparked off a debate about lack of harmony in the Indian dressing room.
The clash is believed to have been sparked off over the parking of a car.
When the Handsworth riots were sparked off in 1985, many people were asking themselves what the causes of them were.
Tunisia's revolution was sparked off by young vendor Muhammad Bou'azizi's desperate act of self-immolation at the town of Sidi Bousid in late 2010.
ASDA sparked off another battle in the supermarket fuel price war yesterday by knocking a further 2p a litre off the cost of its petrol and diesel.
A quarrel, involving a small number of individuals, degenerated into a violent confrontation opposing relatives of the belligerents and sparked off the whole trouble, police and army sources pointed out to TAP News Agency's correspondent.
AN advert specifying that only Polish speakers need apply has sparked off a fresh wave of anti-European feeling.