I read here and there someone saying "it is not far off the mark".

Someone else said that is way too off the mark.

My perception is that it means: it is somehow relates to what mentioned before.


1 Answer 1


"Off the mark" (and "on the mark") are idioms from archery. If your arrow doesn't hit the bull's-eye, it landed off the mark. "Off the mark," then, means inaccurate.

From my experience, it tends to be a polite euphemism. For example, suppose someone says,

There are no better widgets than the Whamdoodle widgets.

and I disagree. I could reply:

No! You're wrong about that.

However, that language is contentious and confrontational. Unless said good-naturedly among friends, it could be considered impolite.

Instead, I might say:

I think you're off the mark there.

One thing that makes off the mark a little more polite: just because someone is off the mark, doesn't mean they've completely missed the target.

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So, on the Stack Exchange, off the mark would be a good idiom to use when you think that someone's response has merit, but you also think there is something amiss in the answer.

NOAD defines amiss as "not quite right." That would be similar to "off the mark."

Way off the mark, then, would mean "completely off target." That would be more appropriate when you want to point out a major error. In that context, way means: at considerable distance or extent; far.

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