What does the idiom "off the point" mean?

The phrase off the point 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 off the point.

Meaning of "off the point"


The phrase “off the point” is an idiom used to indicate that something is irrelevant and not related to the topic at hand. It is used to criticize someone for straying away from the discussion topic. Therefore, when someone is “off the point,” they are not discussing the relevant issues.


The phrase “off the point” has its origins in the late 17th century and is derived from the Latin term “punctum” or “point.” In its literal form, the phrase meant “a point removed or taken away.” Later, it was used metaphorically to refer to an argument or discussion that strayed from its original purpose. The phrase was widely used by the beginning of the 19th century, with the earliest written record of the phrase being found in 1823.


The phrase “off the point” is used to indicate that someone is straying away from the relevant topic during a discussion or argument. This phrase is used in informal settings, and is most often used when people want to express their disapproval of the direction of the conversation. It is also often used to redirect the conversation back to the original discussion topic.

Example Sentences

  • “Can we please stay on topic? We’re getting off the point here.”
  • “I think you’re getting off the point. Let’s get back to the issue at hand.”
  • “I understand what you’re trying to say, but it’s a bit off the point.”
  • “You’re getting off the point here. Can we please stay focused on what we’re discussing?”

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

From One Language to Another: Idioms in Translation

Translating idioms from one language to another can be a tricky task, as the cultural context behind an idiom can be difficult to capture. For example, the French phrase "avoir le cafard" translates to "to have the cockroach," which means to feel down or depressed. Similarly, the Chinese idiom "????" (j?ng d? zh? w?) translates to "frog at the bottom of a well," which refers to someone with a narrow view of the world.


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