Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Happening, done, or made only once.
  • n. Something that is not repeated or reproduced.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Occurring once; one-time.
  • n. Something that is done, created, etc. only once, and often quickly, simply, or improvisationally.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a happening that occurs only once and is not repeated

Etymologies

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

Examples

  • Fiscal discipline is theoretically a laudable goal, though in this case the agreement won't prevent governments from embarking on Keynesian spending sprees as "one-off and temporary measures"—the definition of "one-off" presumably being in the eye of the beholder.

    Seventeenth Brussels Washout

  • These so-called one-off expenses are not as uncommon as people think.

    Tough Love for Retirees

  • The damning report said the violence could not be described as a "one-off" because of evidence that 1QLR troops abused and mistreated Iraqi civilians on other occasions.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • Each of the Park Avenue Armory performances is an Event - that is, a one-off Cunningham anthology.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Is it the sort of thing that only works as a one-off now and then on the basis of generosity more than anything else?

    Scruffians Stamp: Sold to... Everyone!

  • If you followed them back far enough, you might actually get to little tidbits and one-off quotes from “conservatives” that looked like they were dredged up out of context by Media Matters.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Why NFIB Is Challenging ObamaCare

  • Grief counseling can be a long-term process, a short-term affair or even a one-off, trumny and can occur on a one-to-one basis or in groupstrumny (Quote)

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Abortion Deal

  • In China, Xia Bom, an adviser to the People's Bank of China, China's central bank, did not rule out this week a one-off revaluation upward of the Chinese currency.

    Robert Lenzner: A Tipping Point for the Dollar and the Yuan

  • But because each Worldcon is a one-off event, fiscal prudence always wins over new ideas.

    Time to throw open the doors «

  • Except that was a one-off joke instead of the resolution of the entire series.

    The God Tangent «

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