I saw the sentence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqkQMVIoUeg

And the sentence comes at around 10:00

They found that people claiming 75-plus-hour work weeks were off by about 25 hours.

As far as I know, "off" can mean "away from a place" or "away from work". But does it mean "people claiming 75-plus-hour work weeks" actually only "work 50 hours per week"?

I would like to know if anyone could help me understand the sentence (and why audience in that video laugh).

2 Answers 2


In this context, off means off target where target represents the correct estimate.

It is also common to hear that calculations are out, which means the same thing. They are not correct.

The phrase: People are off..... can be used in all kinds of contexts to indicate illness, going away, losing enthusiasm for something and much more. It depends on context. But in your example, the people claiming a 75-plus-hour work week are exaggerating their hours by a third.

The audience may laugh because it's common for people to exaggerate how hard they work, whether to impress someone or to claim compensation.

  • Thanks for completing the notion with the phrase "off target".
    – user32250
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 7:34

It basically means inaccurate or incorrect by a specified amount of something. So, the sentence is saying that the people claiming that they worked more than 75 hours a week were inaccurate in their estimate because as it turned out they didn't really work more than 75 hours a week. The number should actually be lower by 25 hours: 75 - 25 = 50 hours.


— How much is π?
— It's approximately equal to 3.1418.
— No, it's actually approximately equal to 3.1415.
— I was close, though. I was off just by 0.0003.


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