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Probably from foundry work, for which making reusable molds is expensive and expediency the rule for molds not to be reused.


one-off ‎(comparative more one-off, superlative most one-off)

  1. Occurring once, one-time, independent of any pattern.
    The government insisted that the embarrassing loss of the tax records was a one-off event.
    • 1905, Foundry, volume 50‎, page 198: 
      If such a casting was wanted in a hurry — a one-off job — there would be no question of molding it on a machine.
    • 2006 Sep 1, EIU Country Analysis, Malta: Country outlook:
      Moreover, given that recent measures to cut the deficit have been more one-off than of a structural fiscal nature, meeting this debt target is likely only
    Seeing Halley's Comet is a one-off, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  2. Singular; unique; special; remarkable.
    It is a one-off; there is nothing else like it.

Usage notesEdit

  • Much more common outside US. Relative usage frequency 5% (COCA versus BNC).




one-off ‎(plural one-offs)

  1. (idiomatic) Something that is done, created, etc. only once, and often quickly, simply, or improvisationally.
    I'll put together a quick one-off as a sample so we can taste the recipe.


See alsoEdit

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