Under an entry for rip something off, The Free Dictionary says:

  1. To steal (something). A noun or pronoun can be used between "rip" and "off."
    The kids were caught going to different shops around the city and ripping off snacks.
    If you're ripping cars off, you're going to get caught!

  2. To plagiarize or shamelessly copy something or someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rip" and "off."
    It's a cool-looking movie, but they totally ripped off Alien.
    I can't believe he ripped my idea off like that!
    Hey, that was my idea! Don't rip me off like that!

So are these two uses common?


These usages aren't rare, but I would say that they are a bit informal. I would be a little surprised to encounter this phrasing in an academic paper; however, if you Google the phrase "ripped me off" (using quotation marks), you'll encounter hundreds of web pages where people are venting about unfair treatment by contractors, photographers, airlines, banks, and other companies.

  • No, it isn't about "academic paper", but will these two uses be likely in daily life conversations? – It's about English Jun 5 '19 at 10:13
  • 1
    @It'saboutEnglish - Your question merely asks, "Is it common?" I feel like it's important to point out the distinction between "common in everyday vernacular" and "common in formal writing," just in case you (or some other learner) thinks that, because it's a commonly-used expression, it must be appropriate in more formal contexts. But yes, you'll hear this phrasal verb in day-to-day conversations. – J.R. Jun 5 '19 at 17:08

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