spark off

(redirected from sparks off)

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 ?
"I'm going down to the blind football to shout that the referee's a deaf b***d" - Comedian Frankie Boyle sparks off a row over his comment about the Paralympics.
The action sparks off when Willis, a former CIA agent, realises that he is being targeted by some villains who want him removed.
Their quest for love sparks off this series of supernatural romances and courtships laced with ever constant peril.
High culture sparks off low in a uniquely Japanese way.
But Frankie sparks off a crime war when he starts dealing in the hard stuff.
'It is often such extreme behaviour that sparks off trouble among supporters.
Ystrad Mynach (The Vale of the Monk) sparks off endless drifts of imagination.
The 25-year-old Scottish woman will perform a disgusting show in which she swallows light bulbs, walks on a bed of nails and sparks off an angle grinder between her legs - all the while dressed in kinky S&M gear.
Outside on the plaza at Lincoln Center, spectators watched a fireworks display by the Grucci family that threw a rainbow of sparks off the roof of Avery Fisher Hall in celebration of Festival 96's opening performances.
Their troubled lives become even more complicated when the teenager sparks off a police search after he does a runner with the baby.
What grates on me is that in the bigger picture of what's important and what's not, fast-tracking a visa for his married lover's nanny sparks off a major inquiry.
And the slaying sparks off a plot linking hitman James Spader, cops Eric Stoltz and Jeff Daniels, British art-dealer Greg Crutwell (another Brit baddie!), his assistant Glenne Headly and small- time crook Danny Aiello.