off the cuff

off the cuff


  • in an unguarded way
  • to speak without any preparation
  • to speak something without thinking about it
  • spontaneous, casual, extempore and informal remark

Example Sentences

  1. She has a habit of making off-the-cuff remarks which she later denies.
  2. A good politician is always able to speak off the cuff about government regulations.
  3. The survivor, although still under shock, elaborately spoke off the cuff regarding the accident.
  4. Nursery students often surprise their teachers with their off the cuff yet extremely difficult questions.
  5. President Trump is known for his off the cuff tweets that often spark wide-spread controversy.
  6. I am sorry if I offended you. It was honestly an off the cuff candid observation.


First known use of the phrase dates back to 1936. Two possible explanations for the origin of this idiom exist. One is that during dinners and similar other gathering, guests and potential speakers during their conversations and intermingling wrote some last minute notes on their cuffs (sleeves) and during speech / presentation utilized this information from their cuffs.

Second, lesser known origin definition is that directors, in the early days of cinema, wrote notes on their shirt sleeves so as to remind them of what to  say to their actors.



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