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off the chain


Prepositional phraseEdit

off the chain

  1. (idiomatic) Free from work or direct supervision. In reference to slave labor, where workers are chained, or to the figurative chain of workers of an assembly line.
    • 1912, The Windsor Magazine, An Illustrated Monthly for Men and Women, volume 36, page 296
      “Here,” said Wigmore, “no bickering tonight, and no politics either. I’m off the chain, and we’re going to take you out to dinner at Oddy’s, and a theatre.”
    • 1946, Charles Allen Oakley, The Second City, Blackie, page 162
      although shop-assistants, among others, had to work longer hours, even up to 9 and 10 o’clock, for Saturday night became one of the busiest shopping times of the week, a sufficiently large number of people were “off the chain” by midday to give rise for the first time to the problem of what to do with leisure.
    • 1954, Aga Khan, Sultan Muhammad Shah, The Memoirs of Aga Khan, World Enough and Time, Cassell, page 12
      For ten years—from 1885 to 1895—this system continued unchanged, and in it there was no room for a holiday for me, a month, a fortnight, even a week off the chain; at the most a rare day. And relentlessly was I held on the chain.
    • 1960, Vincent Purcell, Blue Collar Man, Patterns of Dual Allegiance in Industry Theodore, Harvard University Press, page 100
      Steward Niles Korbet, agrees: “I like my job better than any other job. Even if I wasn’t making B’s—’cause I'm off the chain.” The regularity of the chain is directly related to the workers’ complaints of monotony and tiring work; but the chain’s regularity is also related to the high bonus which the workers make.
    • 1966 Helen MacInnes, The Double Image, Harcourt Inc, page 29
      The morose Ed Wilshot poured himself another drink and mumbled something about taking three weeks off the chain and heading south for some sunshine.
  2. (African American Vernacular) Crazy and exciting; delirious and wild. By analogy to a frenetic dog when unleashed.
    • 2002 October 31, Samaki Walker (interviewee), Howard Beck (journalist), “Lakers Notebook: Walton's Words Make Shaq Stew”, Daily News, Los Angeles
      “I saw the ring (Tuesday), and it was just unbelievable. That it was my turn to be one of those select few to achieve the ultimate success. It is, what we say, ‘off the chain.’ So it was really an enjoyable moment.”
    • 2004 Cher-Rhonda Woodard-Lynk, Between Secrets, Infinity Publishing, →ISBN, page 225
      “I’ve had celebrities showing up spending a grip in there. I’ve got dancers performing, the whole nine! It's off the chain, the chain. Aren’t you proud of me? Your boy Vic or Vagina, whatever his name is, he’s not making moves like that is he?”
    • 2005, Kia D. Cole, So Much Drama, iUniverse, →ISBN, page 77
      “T let me tell you that everything was off the chain, they want me to start recording Monday man I can’t wait, dude their stuff is off the chain I mean everything is straight out there.[”]
    • 2006, Assuanta Collins, Until the Next Time, Asta Publications, LLC, →ISBN, page 114
      When I arrived at the Waldorf I was taken away by its grandeur. The party was located on the 42nd floor in the Tower Suites. The room was completely off the chain. I am so glad that Tracy accepted the invite to go with me and she had a good time. There were a lot of good-looking African men there.


  • 2002 Michael L. Hecht, Ronald L. Jackson, and Sidney A. Ribeau, African American communication, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, →ISBN, page 147