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

  • adj. Exhibiting bad taste: an off-color joke.
  • adj. Varying from the usual, expected, or required color.
  • adj. Not in good health or spirits.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. dirty, vulgar or obscene
  • adj. different than usual
  • adj. in poor health

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. humorously vulgar; mildly obscene; risque.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not of standard coloration; differing from the shade or pattern of color considered as characteristic. The term is generally applied to domesticated animals.
  • Somewhat improper or indecent.

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

  • adj. in violation of good taste even verging on the indecent
  • adj. humorously vulgar


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • They found their patrons were more willing to pay money to see an off-color than a decent one.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • She laughed easily, and told off-color jokes now and then, too, that made him laugh.

    Roseanne Archy

  • That was followed by an off-color declaration about his sister-in-law at Brennan's in July of 2009 that was filmed and posted on YouTube.

    Alcoholic Mayor Wants Another Chance

  • Rigo and its off-color, or rather on-color, confection was but one stop that the baker and I—she's been on Duane Street for two decades, and before that owned Lanciani, a bakery in the Village—visited during a trip down petit four memory lane.

    Tiny Reasons for Hope

  • Penguins fans jeered, made cracks about Stanley Cup deficits and Ovechkin chokes, about history and heartache, some that were off-color and some that were G-rated.

    Caps fans, Pittsburgh, New Year's Eve

  • The worst smack of tawdriness, even indecency, which is why puns, like off-color jokes, are often followed by apologies.


  • To do that, there will be times when I'll need to understand slangy, off-color, and downright weird words -- all kinds -- if for no other reason than to understand what people around me are saying.

    Ensename, por favor!

  • PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, on the other hand, admits the joke was a bit off-color and believes producers should have used another name in the skit.

    No Britney Spears ‘Sesame Street’ Appearance

  • My favorite moments are the rare off-color ones, like when the girl in the picture above tells the nuns her band is named Bubblegum Orgy, and nuns respond with polite laughter.


  • Wednesday's opening mock "apology" for Steven Tyler's "outrageous behavior," followed by another off-color clip though far from Tyler's best, fell flat and backfired.

    Matt's TV Week in Review


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