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

  • n. An agent, element, or thing that balances, counteracts, or compensates for something else.
  • n. One thing set off or developed from something else.
  • n. The start or initial stage; the outset.
  • n. Architecture A ledge or recess in a wall formed by a reduction in thickness above; a setoff.
  • n. Botany A shoot that develops laterally at the base of a plant, often rooting to form a new plant.
  • n. Geology A spur of a mountain range or hills.
  • n. A bend in a pipe, bar, or other straight continuous piece made to allow it to pass around an obstruction.
  • n. A short distance measured perpendicularly from the main line in surveying, used to help in calculating the area of an irregular plot.
  • n. A descendant of a race or family; an offshoot.
  • n. Printing An unintentional or faulty transfer of wet ink from a printed sheet to another surface in contact with it. Also called setoff.
  • n. Printing Offset printing.
  • transitive v. To counterbalance, counteract, or compensate for: fringe benefits designed to offset low salaries.
  • transitive v. Printing To cause (printed matter) to transfer or smear onto another surface.
  • transitive v. Printing To produce by offset printing.
  • transitive v. To make or form an offset in (a wall, bar, or pipe).
  • intransitive v. To develop, project, or be situated as an offset.
  • intransitive v. Printing To become marked by or cause an unintentional transfer of ink.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Anything that acts as counterbalance; a compensating equivalent.
  • n. A form of countertrade arrangement, in which the seller agrees to purchase within a set time frame products of a certain value from the buying country. This kind of agreement may be used in large international public sector contracts such as arms sales.
  • n. A time at which something begins; outset.
  • n. A printing method, in which ink is carried from a metal plate to a rubber blanket and from there to the printing surface.
  • n. The difference between a target memory address and a base address.
  • n. The distance by which one thing is out of alignment with another.
  • v. To compensate for something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. In general, that which is set off, from, before, or against, something.
  • n. A short prostrate shoot, which takes root and produces a tuft of leaves, etc. See Illust. of Houseleek.
  • n. A sum, account, or value set off against another sum or account, as an equivalent; hence, anything which is given in exchange or retaliation; a set-off.
  • n. A spur from a range of hills or mountains.
  • n. A horizontal ledge on the face of a wall, formed by a diminution of its thickness, or by the weathering or upper surface of a part built out from it; -- called also set-off.
  • n. A short distance measured at right angles from a line actually run to some point in an irregular boundary, or to some object.
  • n. An abrupt bend in an object, as a rod, by which one part is turned aside out of line, but nearly parallel, with the rest; the part thus bent aside.
  • n. A more or less distinct transfer of a printed page or picture to the opposite page, when the pages are pressed together before the ink is dry or when it is poor; an unitended transfer of an image from one page to another; called also setoff.
  • n. See offset printing.
  • intransitive v. To make an offset.
  • transitive v. To set off; to place over against; to balance.
  • transitive v. To form an offset in, as in a wall, rod, pipe, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To set off; balance; countervail; especially, to cancel by a contrary claim or sum: as, to offset one account against another.
  • In mech., to bend so as to bring the axis out of line, but parallel to its original direction: said of a pipe, bar, rod, or shaft.
  • To build with an offset: as, to offset the second story wall four inches.
  • To transfer, by negligence (the moist or undried ink of a newly printed sheet upon the face of an overlying or facing sheet).
  • n. An offshoot; specifically, in botany, a short lateral shoot, either a stolon or a sucker, by which certain plants are propagated. The houseleek, Sempervivum tectorum, is propagated in this manner. See cut under bulb.
  • n. A scion; a child; offspring.
  • n. A spur or minor branch from a principal range of hills or mountains.
  • n. In surveying, a perpendicular distance, measured from one of the main lines, as to points in the extremities of an inclosure, in order to take in an irregular section, and thus determine accurately the total area.
  • n. In com., a sum, value, or account set off against another sum or account as an equivalent, countervail, or requital sum; hence, generally, any counterbalancing or countervailing thing or circumstance; a set-off.
  • n. In architecture, a horizontal break in a wall or other member, marking a diminution of its thickness. See set-off.
  • n. A terrace: as, grounds laid out in offsets.
  • n. In a vehicle, a branch or fork of metal used to unite parts of the gear, as the backstay to the rear axle.
  • n. In printing, a faulty transfer of superabundant or undried ink on a printed sheet to any opposed surface, as the opposite page. Also known as set-off.
  • n. 10. A branch pipe; also, a more or less abrupt bend in a pipe, made to bring the axis of one part of the pipe out of line with the axis of another part.
  • n. In iron ship-building, an abrupt deviation to one side of the general line of a bar, as an angle-bar, designed to enable it to fit over a part projecting above the surface against which the bar is fitted.

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

  • n. a plate makes an inked impression on a rubber-blanketed cylinder, which in turn transfers it to the paper
  • v. create an offset in
  • v. make up for
  • v. produce by offset printing
  • n. a natural consequence of development
  • n. a horizontal branch from the base of plant that produces new plants from buds at its tips
  • n. structure where a wall or building narrows abruptly
  • n. the time at which something is supposed to begin
  • n. a compensating equivalent
  • v. cause (printed matter) to transfer or smear onto another surface
  • v. compensate for or counterbalance


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From off- +‎ set, used to construct the noun form of the verb to set off.



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  • "Offsets aren’t just for carbon anymore: As a way of encouraging people and corporations to act more responsibly, the idea of mitigating one’s harmful activities is taking hold. The ecologically minded have been pushing biodiversity and water offsets. In the U.S., two lighthearted sites offer up chicken offsets for people who want a Chickfil-A sandwich but don’t support the company’s stance against same-sex marriage."

    - 100 Things To Watch In 2013, Dec 2012.

    January 1, 2013

  • Mmmm, houseleeks.

    January 1, 2013

  • that's much better that offputting printing

    April 2, 2009

  • in castle architecture, a slope or ledge on a wall or buttress where the upper face is set back.

    August 26, 2008