Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Waste parts, especially of a butchered animal.
  • noun Refuse; rubbish.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That which falls off, as a chip or chips in dressing wood or stone; that which is suffered to fall off as of little value or use.
  • noun Especially Waste meat; the parts of a butchered animal which are rejected as unfit for use.
  • noun Refuse of any kind; rubbish.
  • noun In the fisheries: Small fish of various kinds taken in seines among larger or more valuable kinds, and thrown away or used for manure, etc.
  • noun Low-priced and inferior fish: distinguished from prime. Fish caught with the trawl average one fourth prime and three fourths offal.
  • Waste; refuse: as, offal wood.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The rejected or waste parts of any process, especially the inedible parts of a butchered animal, such as the viscera.
  • noun A dead body; carrion.
  • noun That which is thrown away as worthless or unfit for use; refuse; rubbish.

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

  • noun The rejected or waste parts of a butchered animal.
  • noun The internal organs of an animal other than a bird, these organs being used as food.
  • noun A dead body.
  • noun Carrion.
  • noun That which is thrown away as worthless or unfit for use; refuse; rubbish.

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

  • noun viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal often considered inedible by humans

Etymologies

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

[Middle English : of-, off (from Old English, from of; see apo- in Indo-European roots) + fal, fall.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English offal ("offal, refuse, scrap waste"), possibly from Old Norse affall ("offal"), or from Middle English of- +‎ fal(l), equivalent to off- +‎ fall. Cognate with Danish affald ("waste, refuse"), Swedish avfall ("waste, refuse"), Dutch afval ("waste, refuse"), German Abfall ("waste, refuse"), Old English offeallan ("to cut off"). More at off, fall.

Examples

  • The term offal which, unfortunately, sounds like "awful" comes from "off fall" - the parts that fell off the butcher's table, or an animal's organs, entrails and extremities.

    News

  • The term "offal" which, unfortunately, sounds like "awful" comes from "off fall" - the parts that fell off the butcher's table, or an animal's organs, entrails and extremities.

    News

  • And when they are dead and dust, which will be shortly, other fools will talk bloody revolution as they gather offal from the spittle-drenched sidewalk along Mile End Road to Poplar Workhouse.

    THE CARTER AND THE CARPENTER

  • Kristen, the Japanese for vegetarian used here was 菜食主義, saishokushugi, which I think carried a definite “vegetables only”, although I have noticed when I use the katakana vegetarian it usually gets understood as “no identifiable meat chunks”, so even offal is OK!

    Buddhist priests favourite grilled beef

  • In some areas, offal is increasing kelp gull populations with a corresponding increase in the level of predation on penguin eggs and chicks, thereby lowering reproductive success.

    Península Valdés, Argentina

  • It was better than it sounds, though probably an acquired taste for those with the "oh my god, offal is awful" mindset.

    Longaniza, Verde o Roja

  • "It seems only polite to the animal you've killed," says Fergus Henderson, the legendary London chef widely credited with rescuing offal from the culinary gutbucket, and the author of The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating (Ecco Press), a cult-classic cookbook that just recently became available in the United States.

    How to Cook Your Gut Pile

  • They exist on the offal from the village abattoir.

    Janey Canuck in the West

  • And when they are dead and dust, which will be shortly, other fools will talk bloody revolution as they gather offal from the spittle-drenched sidewalk along Mile End Road to Poplar Workhouse.

    The Carter and the Carpenter

  • Doomed to be unfairly overlooked by pundits beholden to bigger-label offal, this cover set of country and Americana tunes that have influenced Rodriguez has a tastiness and sweetness that's rare for a Sheryl Crow chaser.

    Glide Magazine - Music :: Culture :: Life

Comments

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  • "Stark reached out, not physically, but with his mind, and seized that disappearing tail of Thad's mental probe. In the eye of Stark's own mind it looked like a worm, a fat white maggot deliriously stuffed with offal and decay."

    - 'The Dark Half', Stephen King.

    December 31, 2007

  • Truly awful.

    August 19, 2008

  • Well said, logie!

    August 19, 2008

  • "But although tripe, kidneys and other innards were still widely used, they were descending on the social scale, now known as offal because they literally fell off during butchering."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 219

    See also comment on garbage.

    January 18, 2017