- the act of stealing
- financial exploitation
- a knock off, usually a brand name
- something that is not worth the value
- things stolen
- in music, borrowing someone else’s guitar riff or song idea
- to tear forcefully (British English)
- duplicating something without any original features (British English)
- I can’t believe I paid that much money for that outfit. It was a rip off.
- The car I bought was a lemon; the salesman ripped me off.
- I can’t believe the company is releasing a rip-off of a classic video game.
- She ripped off my song.
- I didn’t do research, so my hotel was a rip-off.
- The movie was so bad and the tickets so expensive, what a rip-off.
- My wallet is missing; I can’t believe the thief ripped me off.
The term became part of the American Lexicons in 1900. Several diverse countercultures have used the phrase. African Americans started using this phrase in 1904 as prison slang. In the 1960s, Haight Ashbury in San Franciso was the epicenter of Hippie Culture. And the phrase rip-off was part of their vernacular. The Guardian once called the inhabitants “burn-artists, rip-offs, and snitchers.”
The phrase started began to mean a lousy imitation until 1971. British people feel that everything costs more in their country. In the late 90s, the term “British rip-off” was first used. Primary, it’s used by news outlets and other media.
Musicians use this term in two different ways. First, it’s for someone who semi-plagiarizes their music. Second, if they say it about themselves, they are talking about the music that has influenced them.
South Africa uses the phrase differently. They say “ripping-off” instead of rip-off. Essentially it means a running gag. However, it also means to make a joke out of something that person does far too often.