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

  • noun The part of the sea visible from shore that is very distant or beyond anchoring ground.
  • idiom (in the offing) In the near or immediate future; soon to come.
  • idiom (in the offing) Nearby; at hand.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That part of the open visible sea that is remote from the shore, beyond the anchoring-ground, or beyond the mid-line between the shore and the horizon.

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

  • noun That part of the sea at a good distance from the shore, or where there is deep water and no need of a pilot; also, distance from the shore
  • noun visible but not nearby.

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

  • noun nautical The area of the sea in which a ship can be seen in the distance from land, excluding the parts nearest the shore, and beyond the anchoring ground.
  • noun nautical The distance that a ship at sea keeps away from land, often because of navigational dangers, fog and other hazards; a position at a distance from shore.
  • noun figuratively The foreseeable future. Chiefly in the phrase in the offing.
  • verb Present participle of off.

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

  • noun the near or foreseeable future
  • noun the part of the sea that can be seen from the shore and is beyond the anchoring area


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

off +‎ ing. Attested since the 1620s. Early texts also spell the term offin and offen.



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  • "Offing, implies out at sea, or at a good distance from the shore, where there is deep water, and no need of a pilot to conduct the ship; thus, if a ship from shore be seen sailing out towards the sea, they say, 'She stands for the offing.' And if a ship having the shore near her, have another a good way without her, or towards the sea, they say, 'That ship is in the offing.'"

    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 326

    October 14, 2008

  • See also in the offing.

    October 14, 2008

  • Do you like offing?

    January 9, 2016