I started watching a series to learn English and cannot understand what does one off mean in this context. Is it a noun (a one-off) or pronoun one with a cry-off verb, or even the numeral, or something else...

Kid Nickels: I say, what took you so long to ask? ... But what about your buddy? What is it, uh... "Backchap"?

K'nuckles: Ah, let him cry one off.

  • 1
    How about a link?
    – Xanne
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 21:29
  • "One off" is not a syntactic constituent in "Ah, let him cry one off". Therefore you've asked the wrong question, for "one off" doesn't mean anything at all here and cannot be replaced with a different constituent because it is not one itself.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 23:28

1 Answer 1


You've given us very little to go on. Is Kid Nickels guessing that K'nuckles' buddy is named "Backchap"? That will be my assumption here.

Anyhow, it sounds to me like K'nuckles is suggesting that his buddy Backchap is having a problem, but if everyone allows Backchap to cry for a while, Backchap will put this problem behind him. I believe that there are lots of roughly parallel expressions like this. When I was a kid, macho people would respond to pain by "walking it off," walking until the pain subsided. A drunk could "sleep it off," sleep until (upon waking) he would find himself sober. I could go on, if you like.

So here, K'nuckles is responding to the question "But what about your buddy?" as if that question meant "Should we do something to help your buddy?" And he's responding "No, just let him cry and he will get over it."

  • And a one-off is a lone exception to a rule (off by one). Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 23:30
  • @Yosef Baskin Yeah, it seems like I've heard it said of something that was not intended as the first of a series. For example, a rock star might record a country song and explain that it was a one-off, meaning that he does not intend to do that again. But I can't recall any specific example.
    – Chaim
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 17:08

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