work off

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work off

1. To help metabolize or expend the calories from some meal or piece of food with exercise or other physical activity. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "off." I know that was a pretty heavy breakfast, but we'll work it off on our hike later on. I feel like I need to go on a two-hour bike ride to work off that cake!
2. To expel or shed some negative emotion or mental state with exercise or other physical activity. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "off." I was so furious after the meaning that I had to go to the gym for two hours just to work it off! You should try swimming laps—I found that it really helped me work off my anxiety.
3. To free oneself from debt through paid work. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "off." I had to take a second job on the weekends to help work off my student loans. I forgot to bring my wallet with me to the restaurant, so I had to work the bill off washing dishes in their kitchen.
4. To use something as a template or point of guidance. Architects worked off the original 12th-century drawings to authentically recreate the Gothic cathedral. Hey, I'm just working off the instructions they gave me—it's not my fault if something is wrong!
See also: off, work

work something off

 
1. Lit. to get rid of anger, anxiety, or energy by doing physical activity. I was so mad! I went out and played basketball to work my anger off. He works off nervousness by knitting.
2. . Fig. to pay off a debt through work rather than by money. I had no money so I had to work the bill off by washing dishes. I have to work off my debt.
See also: off, work

work off

Get rid of by work or effort, as in They worked off that big dinner by running on the beach, or It'll take him months to work off that debt. [Second half of 1600s]
See also: off, work

work off

v.
1. To get rid of something through effort or work: I started to run two miles a day in order to work off some weight. I owed them a large debt, but I worked it off by painting their house.
2. To use something or someone as a foundation or source of energy to perform work: This laptop works off batteries. I worked off my strengths as a writer to convince the newspaper to hire me.
See also: off, work
References in periodicals archive ?
Should Charles Keating get convicted, would you rather see him sitting around in the prison camp in Danbury, Connecticut, or, after putting in a little time, working off his debt in a downtown car wash?
TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli navy gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats while working off the coast of Gaza at dawn Wednesday.
As I sit at my desk in Gazette Towers writing this on Bank Holiday Monday I can't help but wonder how many readers are also in their offices, perhaps working off a jubilee Pimms or two.
working off the side of your desk: To be so overloaded with work there's no more room left on your desktop.
Karen Storey, fitness manager, said: "Boxing is a great way to keep fit, tone up and de-stress by working off your excess energy."
"They look to get the ball up to Ibrahimovic and get other players working off him, so it's something we have to combat.
BARRE - Residents 60 and older now have the option of working off up to $750 of their property taxes each year if they meet eligibility guidelines, according to regulations that selectmen adopted Monday.