off grid

off-grid,
also, off-the-grid

Meaning

  • disconnected from municipal utility systems.
  • solidarity.
  • to live entirely self-sufficiently; never needing outside help.
  • hidden from the general population.

Example Sentences

  1. Tony built an off-grid bunker, complete with non-perishable food, a water purification system, and solar panels.
  2. After graduating college, some people choose to go off the grid to take a break from human interaction.
  3. It’s not illegal to live off-grid, however, the federal government doesn’t make it easy to accomplish.

Origin

There was a time when “off-grid” living wasn’t a choice. Utility companies didn’t exist as they do today, and as such, there were no power lines, municipal water sources, sewer systems, etc. Everything we call basic necessity today would have been considered a regal lifestyle.

As the modernization of municipal infrastructure became common, so did the blueprints for its creation. These blueprints are the layouts that are referred to as grids. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the westernized world became comfortable enough with these grids to have the choice to break away from them. This is when the idiom was born. 

Much of the world still operates without utility grids, so it’s a very Western concept to consciously choose to live primitively. Food for thought: Even though one out of ten people on Earth has limited access to drinkable water, Western society chooses to defecate in clean water every day.

The electric grid is typically referred to as the “grid.” Being off the grid entails cutting off supply.
The word “grid” (a contraction of “griddle” or “griddleiron”) is where it had its start in 1839.
(Therefore the gridlock) “City planning sense” dates from 1954. In 1926, the phrase “network of transmission lines” was first used.

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