from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective literally, of a ship, etc. Within the area of the sea known as the offing; at a considerable distance from land, but visible from shore, often in reference to an approaching ship.
  • adjective idiomatic Soon to come; likely to happen; in the foreseeable future; projected to occur; on the horizon; in the wind.
  • adjective idiomatic At a distance, but visible.


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  • "The offing" (also called "offen" or "offin") is the most distant part of the sea that's still visible from shore. A person waiting for a ship would first detect its approach to shore when it was "in the offing." The phrase came to describe an event that will not occur immediately but will inevitably happen before too long.

    December 6, 2007

  • See also offing.

    October 14, 2008