Why one-off, not one-of?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by panjandrum, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Prompted by the thread about the one-off...

    I've always been puzzled about the spelling of one-off.
    This is a one-off order.
    The one-off price is ...
    She is a one-off.

    Why is it OFF, not OF.
    There will only be one order like this - only one of them.
    The price for one of them is ...
    There will never be another one of her.
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Not that this has any validity, :) but I've always thought of it as "one off the assembly line", as if more could have been made but only one was actually made.
  3. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    I've heard it in the investment castings industry, and so have shared James's unsubstantiated assumption.

    Edit: I checked all my usual etymological sources, with no luck. Then I came across this:

    Usually very good and reliable source.


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