Ad libbing like mad

off the cuff1  The phrase “off the cuff’ popped into my head today, so I did some research and found that, like many interesting sayings, its origin is somewhat obscure.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary “Off the cuff (1938) is from the notion of speaking from notes written in haste on one’s shirt cuffs.”  Source:

off the cuff4While Merriam Webster claims it means “without preparation” and that speaking off the cuff means “to ad lib”, they give no references to where this phrase came from.

off the cuff3And the Free Dictionary lists several citations, including: off-the-cuff (adj.) meaning “Not prepared in advance; impromptu: an off-the-cuff remark.” Source: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011


a nit picker- woman“off the cuff” means an informal remark, made without being prepared or thought about in advance. From: Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers, or….


off the cuff2off-the-cuff, adj. meaning with little or no preparation; impromptu. [1940] Source: Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.


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