Idiom of the day

off the cuff

Meaning: If you speak off the cuff, you speak without planning what you will say beforehand.

For example:

  • She wasn't expecting to win, so she hadn't prepared a speech, but she still managed to say a few words off the cuff after being given the award.
  • The prime minister keeps making off-the-cuff remarks that get him into trouble.

Note: When used to modify a noun or a noun phrase, this idiom should be written with hyphens, as in "an off-the-cuff comment".

Origin: Possibly related to the fact that people sometimes write last-minute notes on the cuff of their shirt's sleeve before making a speech or saying a few words. 

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