What does the idiom "ease off" mean?

The phrase ease off is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of ease off.

Meaning of "ease off"


The phrase 'ease off' can be used in a variety of contexts and usually implies becoming less intense or taking a step back from a situation. It can mean to relax, to slow down, or to take it easy. It is often used to mean that one should not be so focused on a particular task, or to show someone that they don't need to be so uptight about something.


The phrase 'ease off' is thought to have originated in the United States in the early 20th century and is likely a variant of the phrase “ease off the gas”. It may have referred to the accelerator in a motor vehicle, and later been applied to other contexts.


The phrase 'ease off' is commonly used to imply that one should relax or take a step back from a situation. It is often used in the imperative form as a gentle suggestion or as a request. It can be used to tell someone to stop doing something, to not be so intense, or to slow down or take it easy. It can also be used as encouragement, especially when someone is in a difficult or stressful situation.

Example Sentences

  • You've been working so hard, why don't you ease off a little?
  • Ease off and take it easy, you don't have to do everything all at once.
  • I'm trying to ease off the sugar in my coffee, it's not easy.
  • I think he was trying to tell me to ease off a bit.
  • Don't worry, just ease off a bit and things will get better.

The meanings of the words in the "ease off" idiom

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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