Is it acceptable in English to say "I am off" in meaning that I'm tired or something like that? I heard it from non native English speaker, that's why I'm not sure about it.


4 Answers 4


Not quite.

Well, I'm off!

Means that you're leaving. See: TheFreeDictionary - I'm off.

This song sounds/feels a little off.

Means that there is something not quite right about this song to you. It feels weird. A thread on ELU about that: What does the idiom “to sound a little off” mean?

If you wanna say you're not feeling well, you could say:

I'm feeling a bit under the weather, I think I'm going to go home.


It's possible you may be thinking of

I'm a bit off (BrE)
I am feeling unwell

and therefore the speaker is feeling tired as a result.

To only express tired might be

I'm tired (obviously)
I'm knackered (BrE)

Usually expressing tiredness and sickness are kept separate.

As pointed out, simply using "I'm off" would usually mean

I'm off (to some destination)
I'm leaving/going


Off means many things, including not being normal, being sub-standard, or separated from a place or thing. It does not mean "tired," and if you were to state this, a native speaker would understand it to mean that you're feeling unusual or are ill.


Yes, I think so. It may be a little unusual, but I think it would be understood easily by a high percentage of native speakers.

The more "usual" statement would be "I feel [a little] off" or "I'm a little off" or "I'm off my game", etc. but I think "I am off" or "I'm off" are adequate and perfectly understandable.

  • 1
    I don't know that I would assume that "I'm off" meant the same as "I feel off". I would probably assume it was a variation of "I'm out - see ya" or "I'm off work - see ya". It would be highly context dependent.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 2:36
  • Context is important. Since almost no utterances are made outside of a context, I think it would be understandable in the large majority of situations. If there was no indication that someone was going anywhere...and/or the idea that someone wasn't perhaps up to their usual standards, I can easiyl see "I'm off" (meaning "I'm off [today|right now|lately]") being perfectly acceptable and understandable. Are you a native American English speaker, @ColleenV?
    – gnicko
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 19:21
  • If you can't tell, does it matter? I would think the region I'm from would be more relevant than whether English is my first or fourth language.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 19:47
  • To me, it matters not. ;)
    – gnicko
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 19:49

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