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off-handed, adj. (and adv.)

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌɒfˈhandᵻd/, U.S. /ˈɔfˈhæn(d)əd/ , /ˈɑfˈhæn(d)əd/
Origin: Formed within English, by derivation.
Etymons: off- prefix, handed adj., offhand adj.
Etymology: < off- prefix + handed adj., as alteration of offhand adj.

1. Unpremeditated, impromptu; (also) casual, nonchalant, unceremonious, or curt in style or manner; = offhand adj. Also occasionally as adv. (see quot. 1840). The earliest examples are U.S. and Irish English: cf. also quot. 1823 for off-handedness n. at Derivatives. o-u-x-u-r

1750 J. Barnard Janua Coelestis 376 They seek it only in a very careless, off-handed Manner, and are not Earnest in what they do. x-x-x-x-o
1812 M. Edgeworth Absentee vii, in Tales Fashionable Life II. 63 Off-handed as she pretended to be, none dealt more in the impromptu fait à loisir.x-x-x-x-o
1835 T. Moore Diary 15 Aug. in Mem. (1856) VII. 103 Found Babbage very off-handed and agreeable.o-x-x-u-u
1840 R. H. Barham Hand of Glory in Ingoldsby Legends 1st Ser. 44 Nor, I'll venture to say, without scrutiny cou'd he Pronounce her, off-handed, a Punch or a Judy.o-x-x-u-r
1890 ‘R. BoldrewoodColonial Reformer (1891) 182 He's an off-handed chap.o-x-x-u-r
1904 Sunday Herald (Boston) 29 June 8/5 The old families are perhaps not as off-handed, as liberal as the others, but they are kinder and better.x-x-x-x-o
1957 Jrnl. Educ. Sociol. 31 48 One real advantage of a formal organization to handle contributions..is to restrict the big boss from making commitments in an open-handed and off-handed way to people who approach him personally.x-x-x-x-o
2000 Observer 18 June (Review section) 10/6 Wolfgang Tillman's photographs are just as null as he wants them to be: off-handed shots of club scenes.x-x-x-x-o

2. Mining. = offhand adj. 4.x-o-u-u-u Now rare.x-x-x-x-o

1846 W. E. Brockett J. T. Brockett's Gloss. North Country Words (ed. 3) II. 59 All workmen about a coal-pit are said to be off-handed who are not engaged in the business of hewing and putting the coal.x-x-o-u-u
1894 Econ. Jrnl. 4 500 Mr. Jeans might well have told us what is meant when he speaks of ‘off-handed,’ and of ‘on-cost men,’.x-x-x-x-o
1906 Daily Chron. 16 Oct. 5/2 The ‘off-handed’ men..dispersed into the four seams of the pit.x-o-u-u-u


ˌoff-ˈhandedly adv. in an off-handed manner, in a free and easy style, without ceremony, casually.o-u-u-u-r

1876 Galaxy May 688/2 I make words, trying to laugh off-handedly, though somehow not succeeding over well.x-x-x-x-o
{1886 19th Cent. Oct. 541 The newspaper moralisers speak off-handedly of the skilled workman earning his two or three pounds a week.    }x-o-x-u-x
{1893 G. Allen Scallywag I. 40 Isabel Boyton answered a little offhandedly.   }o-u-x-u-x
1905 G. B. Shaw Let. 3 Jan. (1972) II. 48 At my third meeting I was asked to take the chair. I consented as offhandedly as if I were the Speaker of the House of Commons.x-x-o-u-u
{1973 J. Wainwright Pride of Pigs 123 He could have felt sorry for Fuller‥to be systematically, off-handedly squashed.}x-x-o-u-x
1992 Matrix Summer 24/2 Clark's catching up with some old friends, she explains off-handedly.x-x-x-x-o


ˌoff-ˈhandedness n. the quality or fact of being off-handed.o-u-u-u-u

1823 New Monthly Mag. 8 364 There is in them..an open off-handedness (to use a significant Irishism).o-u-x-u-u
{1883 F. M. Peard Contrad. xix, He was quite conscious of the off-handedness of Dorothy's manner.    }o-u-x-u-x
1943 Public Opinion Q. 7 105 He doen't like what seems to him half a dozen affectations: off-handedness in the face of comrades' deaths, extreme reserve in all matters of emotion, etcetera.x-x-x-x-o
1989 A. Brookner Lewis Percy xiii. 193 He was surprised at the off-handedness of her mothering.x-x-x-x-o