work off(redirected from working off something)
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!
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.
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]
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.