I am wondering what does "off" mean in following sentence:

"This year, production is off to a slow start; only five vehicles are manufactured each hour."

Does it mean that the production is beginning with a slow start? Or does it mean something else?

Thank you in advance, and have a great day.


Off here is being used in adjective sense 2a from www.m-w.com:

2a : started on the way

You could consider it to be short for "moving off of the starting line of a race track" (because the race has begun).

In fact, the most idiomatic expression for this usage generally IS at a race track, when the race starts; you'll often hear the announcer say "Aaaaand they're off!"

So when you're off to a slow start, it means you have begun something, but are doing poorly in comparison to either your opponents or to your expectations. (Conversely, you might "get off to a good start or a fast start" if you are doing better than expected at the beginning of your effort.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.