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Off and on   /ɔf ənd ɑn/   Listen
Off and on

adverb
1.
Not regularly.  Synonym: on and off.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Off and on" Quotes from Famous Books



... husband, like Mr. Quintin Manx, a lord of fleets. Old Lady Dacier's bluntness in speaking of her grandson would have shocked Lady Wathin as much as it astonished, had she been less of an ardent absorber of aristocratic manners. Percy was plainly called a donkey, for hanging off and on with a handsome girl of such expectations as Miss Asper. 'But what you can't do with a horse, you can't hope to do with a donkey.' She added that she had come for the purpose of seeing the heiress, of whose points of person ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... was lying at the pier. The said pier is a very pleasant place of promenade, the water and banks are so pretty, and there is so much liveliness of ships about it. Well I started in a gig, in a swashing rain, which continued off and on for a good while. Of the 21 miles, I should think that 15 were across the New Forest. I do not much admire it. As for Norman William's destruction of houses and churches to make it hunting ground, that is utter nonsense which never could have been written by anybody that ...
— Autobiography of Sir George Biddell Airy • George Biddell Airy

... me to retract!" cried Joseph, impetuously. "Never will I retract what I have said or done, for I act from conviction, and conviction does not slip off and on like a glove! But let us speak no more on this subject. If your holiness will write down your canonical objections to my proceedings against the church, I will lay them before my theologians for examination. My chancellor shall ...
— Joseph II. and His Court • L. Muhlbach

... heaved her backside. I seized her by each hip and favoured her side movements by, as it were, drawing her off and on; faster and faster we moved, until at last the crisis seized us both together. Her head sank with a deep sigh, or rather cry of ecstasy. She would have fallen forward on her belly, but that my grip of her hips held her bottom close up to my belly, with ...
— The Romance of Lust - A classic Victorian erotic novel • Anonymous

... from him. Then she was asked as to her residence after her marriage, and here she was less clear. She had lived with him first at Ahalala and then at Nobble, but she could not say for how long. It had been off and on. There had been quarrels, and after a time they had agreed to part. She had received from him a certain amount of mining shares and of money, and had undertaken in return never to bother him any more. There was a great deal ...
— John Caldigate • Anthony Trollope

... it he had a fairly complete view of the lobby. This was essential since presently, if things went well or if they did not go well, he must privily give a designated signal for the benefit of a Gulwing underling, a lesser member of the mob, who was already on hand, standing off and on in the offing. Sitting there Marr was well protected from the view of persons passing through, bound to or from the grill room, the desk or the elevators. This also was as it should be. Better still, ...
— Sundry Accounts • Irvin S. Cobb

... porter gravely. "Sam, I have been in Newport off and on for some time, but have been too busy to study the social side. Still, I happen to know you have the honor of having under your excellent care, the ...
— Prince or Chauffeur? - A Story of Newport • Lawrence Perry

... a lot of 'em off and on," Carnaby answered somewhat huffily, "and they don't call ...
— Robinetta • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... interest of the road; now joining in conversation with a passenger, shrewd, sensible, and respectful; now exchanging a little elegant badinage with the coachman; now bowing to a pretty girl; now quizzing a passer-by; he was off and on his seat in an instant, and, in the whiff of his cigar, would lock a wheel, or ...
— The Young Duke • Benjamin Disraeli

... now suppose that a "blackbirder" (obnoxious name to many recruiters) from Samoa, Fiji, or Queensland, has reached one of the New Hebrides, or Solomon Islands. Possibly she may anchor—if there is an anchorage; but most likely she will "lie off and on," and send away her boats to ...
— The Call Of The South - 1908 • Louis Becke

... "that's diff'rent. She's at home. She works when I tell her—if she chooses," Mrs. Collins concluded with a chuckle, for Lizzie had dropped her broom and was sitting in the middle of the floor pulling Honey-Sweet's shoes and stockings off and on. ...
— Honey-Sweet • Edna Turpin

... single acquaintance in Ireland when first I visited that most interesting of countries: before leaving it, however, after about a year and a-half's cruising off and on their coasts, I was on pretty intimate terms with one family at least for every dozen miles, from Downpatrick on the east, to the Bloody Foreland on the west, a range of more than a ...
— The Lieutenant and Commander - Being Autobigraphical Sketches of His Own Career, from - Fragments of Voyages and Travels • Basil Hall

... curious, it kept the fire so well, it looked so cheerful and inviting; a stove that was the life and soul of the whole room, a stove to draw up to and talk to; no, never was there such a stove! There was hardly a minute of the day he was not fussing with it, raking it down, turning the damper off and on, opening and shutting the door, filling it with coal, putting the blower on and then taking it off again, sweeping away the ashes with a little brass-handled broom, or studying the pictures upon the tiles: the "Punishment of Caliban and His Associates," "Romeo and Juliet," the "Fall ...
— Vandover and the Brute • Frank Norris

... in order. I've a few very profitable affairs in hand, I assure you. There's one which might have turned out a great prize, if I had been only able to carry it through. But those sort of things all depend on time, you see, ma'am. They're very slow. I have been about this one, off and on, for over three years; and very little ...
— Run to Earth - A Novel • M. E. Braddon

... just as soon. And tell her to make a good job of it. I've got to go out now, but I'll be around off and on during ...
— Calumet "K" • Samuel Merwin and Henry Kitchell Webster

... appearing, and now leaving us, and so off and on, is even more terrible than total darkness; and a sort of uncertain sounds are, when the necessary dispositions concur, more alarming than a ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. I. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... tragic all right," said Mrs. Talcott. "She's had about as bad a time as they make 'em—off and on. But she spoils things. And it makes me tired to see it going on. I've had too much of it," said Mrs. Talcott, "and if this can't come right—this between you and your nice young husband—I don't feel like I ...
— Tante • Anne Douglas Sedgwick

... said the short, thick-set man, with a blanket wrapped round him in lieu of a coat, to the big burly man on his left, "I stood off and on, West-Nor'-West and East-Sou'-East, waiting for the gale to wear down and let me get into your tuppeny little port. Now you are pilot, I reckon. ...
— The Tale of Timber Town • Alfred Grace

... Iowa on a good sized farm and we were well-to-do financially. I was very much interested in spiritual work, even to printing and sending out a number of tracts. But it seemed that my poor soul was clinging to the worldly thing too much. I was troubled about it, off and on. However, your vision means that if I only had a cow and three sheep—which we have—if my soul is clinging to them I can never enter heaven." "Surely," he said, "the Lord has sent you to help me. Please pray that I get right with God; that is the main thing." The ...
— Personal Experiences of S. O. Susag • S. O. Susag

... my first trawl on the Banks. Looking back on it, now, Simon, I mind how the bravest sight I thought I ever saw was our string of dories racing afore the tide in the sea of that sunny winter's morning, and the vessel, like a mother to her little boats, standing off and on to see that nothing happened the while we hauled and coiled and gaffed inboard the broad-backed halibut. All out of myself with pride I was—I that was no more than a lad, but hauling halibut trawls with full-grown Gloucester men on the Grand Banks! And the passage home ...
— The Trawler • James Brendan Connolly

... perilously narrow and with mighty seas that broke in thunderous spray to right and left of it; insomuch that heedful of Adam's warning (and all too late) I was minded to bear up and stand away, plying off and on, until the waves should have moderated. But in my folly I had sailed too near and now, swept onward by some current, the boat, responding no more to her helm, was borne on at ever-increasing speed. So ...
— Black Bartlemy's Treasure • Jeffrey Farnol

... the Straits, we relieved Tangiers, then a Portuguese settlement, closely invested by the Moors, whom our guns drove away and dispersed. Returning to Cadiz we again endeavoured, but in vain, to draw out the Spanish fleet, and while we lay off and on the harbour, news came from undoubted sources that the second Silver fleet, hearing of the disaster to the first, was afraid of continuing the homeward voyage, and had put into Santa Cruz, a port of one of ...
— The Boy who sailed with Blake • W.H.G. Kingston

... watching that star just below the big cherry bough. I'll see it set behind the hill. I've seen it there, off and on, for twelve years, and now I'm taking a good-by look at it. I want you to keep still, too. I've got a few things to think over, and I ...
— Further Chronicles of Avonlea • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... the Alkmaar museum, and whose tomb is at Delft. Motley shall tell the story: "On the 11th October, however, the whole patriot fleet, favored by a strong easterly breeze, bore down upon the Spanish armada, which, numbering now thirty sail of all denominations, was lying off and on in the neighbourhood of Hoorn and Enkhuyzen. After a short and general engagement, nearly all the Spanish fleet retired with precipitation, closely pursued by most of the patriot Dutch vessels. Five of the King's ships were eventually taken, the rest effected their escape. Only the Admiral remained, ...
— A Wanderer in Holland • E. V. Lucas

... and very little else to speak of," replied Austin, laughing. "I'm always reading, off and on, without much system, you know. But if I'm rather desultory I always enjoy reading, because books give me so many new ideas, and it's delightful to have always something fresh to ...
— Austin and His Friends • Frederic H. Balfour

... designs in his 'testimonies of study,' the design for his Thesis, and the designs produced during the examination itself—all these peopled his brain; but they were in order; they were under control; they were his slaves. For four and a half hours, off and on, he had admirably displayed the reality of his knowledge, and then he was sent into a fresh room to meet a fresh examiner. There he stood in the room alone with his designs for a small provincial town hall—a ...
— The Roll-Call • Arnold Bennett

... first night after we took this hellion. I'd stood the wheel most of the afternoon—off and on, that is, because she sails herself uncommonly well. Just put her on a reach, you know, and she carries it ...
— Masterpieces of Mystery, Vol. 1 (of 4) - Ghost Stories • Various

... slept off and on, or rather, dozed into a kind of semi-stupor, from which he awoke with a start now and then, as he thought be heard again the mingled cries of devotion and malediction. At last he slept soundly, and ...
— A Rock in the Baltic • Robert Barr

... got nearly to Hythe, and met with the red-whiskered man who got up suddenly out of the hedge and said he'd been hanging off and on expecting them for nigh on a week, Mr. Beale sent Dickie into a field to look for mushrooms—which didn't grow there—expressly that he might have a private conversation with the red-whiskered ...
— Harding's luck • E. [Edith] Nesbit

... soldier's dress was an absolute toilette. The Prussian, even with all the intelligence of the Great Frederic to model it, was enough to perplex a French milliner, and to occupy the wearer half the day in putting it off and on. The English uniform was modelled on the Prussian, and our unlucky soldier was compelled to employ his hours in tying his queue, powdering his hair, buttoning on his spatterdashes, and polishing his ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 364, February 1846 • Various

... "Oh, Jake, he works—off and on. But he ain't got what you might call a hankerin' for it. He can take work or let it alone. I can't say as much for him when it comes to licker. Fact is, some the women say, 'Why, Mrs. Nuddle, how ...
— The Cup of Fury - A Novel of Cities and Shipyards • Rupert Hughes

... quite settled in his London rooms, which he had taken furnished, and in which he had lived off and on for a period of eighteen months. He was always thinking of going abroad again to resume the wanderings which had been prematurely ended by the tidings of his father's death. But he was indolent, a lover of pleasure, with plenty of money, and a year and a ...
— Fan • Henry Harford

... clear of every part of Borneo, but the south part of Borneo, and the large island called Poolo La'oot, form a considerable bight; into this bight we found a strong in-draught, by which, and the wind being light, we were drawn, and could not fetch round Borneo; we stood off and on there with light and baffling winds, and a short chop of a sea, and gained no ground: after passing two days and a night in this situation, we got a breeze, which enabled us to weather the Brothers again, and stand to the eastward, where we had more room. This situation gave me some uneasy moments; ...
— An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island • John Hunter

... know it was you, Bob. I have been dozing off and on; and suddenly heard a faint noise in this direction. Thinking it might be Tucker trying to communicate unseen with Miss Newton, I stole over here. When you came creeping around the corner there ...
— The Lost Despatch • Natalie Sumner Lincoln

... peeped through the trees were no help in telling the time, and Andy had lost interest in it anyhow. It was night, it had been night for what seemed like years, the blackness around him proclaimed it would be night still for many more years. He dozed off and on, at times waking with a start, thinking he had heard something. For a few minutes he would listen intently, feverishly. But when nothing reached his ears but the little night sounds he had become accustomed to, he would sink back into the lethargy ...
— A Choice of Miracles • James A. Cox

... adjutant had not said a word. He attended strictly to the business that had brought him here. His voracity attracted no attention, because everybody was used to it. Off and on he merely emitted a species of grunt in token of approval or dissent of what had been said. He was still eating when the hostess finally gave the signal to rise. Then everybody wished everybody else a "blessed digestion,"[4] and made for the adjoining rooms, where ...
— A Little Garrison - A Realistic Novel of German Army Life of To-day • Fritz von der Kyrburg

... Life! What in all the world of books is there like it? I have been reading it off and on for more than thirty years, and still find it inexhaustible. It ripens with the years. It is so intimate that it seems to be a record of my own experiences. I have dined so often with Johnson at the Mitre and Sir Joshua's and Langton's and the rest that I know him far better ...
— Pebbles on the Shore • Alpha of the Plough (Alfred George Gardiner)

... perfectly ridiculous. Of course, nerve-racked tired waitresses and be-deviled chefs "cussed each other out" as a regular thing up at the eating-house during a rush, and Donna, having listened to these conversational sparks, off and on, for three years, felt now, for the first time, as she imagined they must feel—that the unusual commotion in one's soul occasionally ...
— The Long Chance • Peter B. Kyne

... of the town again. There were lots of police, too. Suppose one of them was to say, 'Richard Marston, I arrest you for——' It hardly mattered what. I felt as if I should have tumbled down with sheer fright and cowardliness. It's a queer thing you feel like that off and on. Other times a man has as much pluck in him as if his life was worth fighting for—which ...
— Robbery Under Arms • Thomas Alexander Browne, AKA Rolf Boldrewood

... the Lion and the Flyboat almost ready to depart, the 21 of August, there arose such a tempest at Northeast, that our Admirall then riding out of the harbour, was forced to cut his cables, and put to sea, where he lay beating off and on sixe dayes before he could come to vs againe so that we feared he had bene cast away, and the rather for that at the time that the storme tooke them, the most and best of their sailers ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of - the English Nation. Vol. XIII. America. Part II. • Richard Hakluyt

... the wrecked men were taken off the roaring beach through a tumult of breaking surf, but as they pulled seaward the fog shut down on them, and one boat, manned by three men, never reached the schooners. They blew horns all night, standing off and on, and crept along the smoking beach next day, though the surf made landing impossible. Then a sudden gale drove them off the shore, and, as it was evident that their comrades must have perished, they reluctantly sailed for other fishing grounds. ...
— Hawtrey's Deputy • Harold Bindloss

... of Huelva and Palos; but although Huelva still has a trade the tides bring nothing to Palos, and take nothing away with them again. From La Rabida now you can no longer see, as Columbus saw, fleets of caravels lying-to and standing off and on outside the bar waiting for the flood tide; only a few poor boats fishing for tunny in the empty sunny waters, or the smoke of a steamer standing on her course for the Guadalquiver ...
— Christopher Columbus, Complete • Filson Young

... in me, if I make the remark (for I can't put down what I have got to say, without putting that down before going any further), that I have always been of an ingenious turn. I once got twenty pound by a screw, and it's in use now. I have been twenty year, off and on, completing an Invention and perfecting it. I perfected of it, last Christmas Eve at ten o'clock at night. Me and my wife stood and let some tears fall over the Model, when it was done and I brought her in to take a look ...
— Reprinted Pieces • Charles Dickens

... replied Captain Nicholson. "We'll stand off and on near where I place the shore line till we have daylight enough to see what we are about. Anyhow, I don't suppose there will be any lights, or if there are, they will likely be misplaced, to ...
— The Boy Allies Under Two Flags • Ensign Robert L. Drake

... sat out under the trees all day long. I watched him from my field, and I could see 'im wiping his eyes on his sleeve. He kept it up from morning till night. Sometimes, Alfred, I doubt the goodness of God Almighty. I know it's a sin to say so, but I can't help it. I've talked a heap to Joe off and on, an' he's had more put on 'im than a grown person ought to bear. Poor thing! he misses his Ma. From what he says I judge she was good and tender. I had a queer dream the other night. I seemed to see a woman in my room; she was crying, and, ...
— Dixie Hart • Will N. Harben

... "Our people had that case from the start—I worked on it myself off and on, up until three days ago." From memory he quoted: "Medium height, slender, dark-complected, smooth-faced and about thirty-one years old; a good dresser and well educated; smokes cigarettes constantly; has one upper front tooth crowned ...
— From Place to Place • Irvin S. Cobb

... the yacht brought up at her cable, when the Juno, in which Laud Cavendish had been laying off and on where he could see the launch, ran ...
— The Yacht Club - or The Young Boat-Builder • Oliver Optic

... can't go on: though I had a good deal to tell you about this lady. During fifteen years, off and on, I sat listening by her dim bed-side to her murmuring trances! At last my expert ear could detect the sense of her faintest sigh. I heard the "Decline and Fall" from beginning to end. Some of her reports were the most frivolous nonsense: ...
— The Purple Cloud • M.P. Shiel

... two," answered the unconsciously gossipy little bachelor. "Looks like the whole family have missed him, too. Miss Viney has been in bed off and on ever since he left, and Miss Amandy has tooken a bad cold in her right ear and has had to keep her head wrapped up all the time. Mr. Tucker's mighty busy a-trying to figure out how to crap the farm like Mr. Mark laid off on a map for him ...
— Rose of Old Harpeth • Maria Thompson Daviess

... only now able to hold his pen. But it was lucky he had not written before; this very morning there had reached him the very best news. "The father of the man who owes me ten thousand pounds is dying. Off and on he has been ill for a long time, but I hear at length that there can be no doubt whatever that the end is near. I can't pretend to any human feeling in this matter; the man's death means life for us—so the world goes. Any day ...
— Will Warburton • George Gissing

... 'Off and on. Just been down for ten days. If it were possible, I should go steadily at the business. I used to think I couldn't fit into work of that sort, but a man never knows what he can do till he tries. I can't stand doing nothing; ...
— The Whirlpool • George Gissing

... to know something about Rooshia, seein' I've lived there, off and on, this fifteen year and more; and if a young man was to come to me and ax me where's the best place for a workin' man to git on, I'd say to him, jist as I says it to you now, "Go to Rooshia!" Why so? says you. Well, jist this way. You see, cotton-mills and mowin'-machines ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 22. July, 1878. • Various

... Fleur, raising her hand. "Tell your mistress to get you a French coffee-pot, and if you don't know how to use it, I'll come and teach you. I shall be here off and on as long as Mrs. Drane stops in this house." And then, seating herself, La Fleur proceeded to put Molly through ...
— The Girl at Cobhurst • Frank Richard Stockton

... lay at Madeira, we were informed of ten sail of ships cruising off and on, to the westward, these ships were judged to be French, and had been seen every day for a week before our arrival: The commodore sent out a privateer sloop, but she returned the day following, without seeing 'em, so that we can give no account ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 • Robert Kerr

... almost from the water's edge, looking huge and barren across the sea. We sped onward past Guantanamo Bay, where we saw the little picket-ships of the fleet; and in the afternoon we sighted Santiago Harbor, with the great war-ships standing off and on in front of it, gray ...
— Rough Riders • Theodore Roosevelt

... in a prison of a certain South American state, expecting each day to be taken out and shot. In another state he had, as an interlude to his ornithological pursuits, followed the career of a gun-runner, acting as such off and on for two and a half years. The particular revolutionary chief whose fortunes he was following finally came into power, and Cherrie immortalized his name by naming a new species of ant-thrush after him—a delightful touch, in its practical combination of those not normally ...
— Through the Brazilian Wilderness • Theodore Roosevelt

... done, and during the remainder of the night the Europa, under her three topsails, jib and spanker, stood off and on, never going farther from the shore than a distance of six miles, and very gradually working her way back to—as nearly as we could guess it—the spot where we had lost sight of the brigantine. As ...
— A Middy of the King - A Romance of the Old British Navy • Harry Collingwood

... when he could not answer him? Poor Lord Harry, too, was an unfortunate subject to exercise his valour upon! The House interposed; Lord Harry declared he should have expected Grenville to breakfast with him next morning; Grenville explained off and on two or three times, the Scotch laughed, the opposition roared, and the treasury-bench sat as mute as fishes. Thus ended that wise Hudibrastic encounter. Grenville however, attended by every bad omen, provoked your brother, who had not intended to speak, by saying that some people had a good ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole Volume 3 • Horace Walpole

... principles, I think," he continued. "They are apparently trying to connect me with somebody. I don't think they suspect you at all, and they won't unless they get some better methods. I have devices fitted up to turn the lights off and on, raise and lower the windows, and even cast shadows at certain times. The housekeeper knows that when I go to my library after dinner, I have retired to study, and that it is as much as anyone's life is worth ...
— The Skylark of Space • Edward Elmer Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby

... good at telling a story, Mistress Martin,' I said; 'but here is Master Ned's letter. When you have read that maybe I can answer questions as to matters of which he may not have written. I will stand off and on in the garden, ma'am, and then you can read it comfortable like indoors, and hail me when you have got to the bottom of it.' It was not many minutes before one of your sisters called me in. They had all been crying, and I felt more uncomfortable than I did when those ...
— By Pike and Dyke: A Tale of the Rise of the Dutch Republic • G.A. Henty

... suddenly rang at her. "Off and on! Why, my good woman, it's just two days you could have worn ...
— The Coast of Chance • Esther Chamberlain

... bull detected the noise of my approach, and rushed straight at me. I confess it was rather a trying moment, but I never lost my head, feeling confident of my skill with the bow—which I had practised off and on ever since I had left school at Montreux. I actually waited until the charging monster was within a few paces, and then I let fly. So close was he that not much credit is due to me for accurate aim. The arrow fairly transfixed his right eye, causing ...
— The Adventures of Louis de Rougemont - as told by Himself • Louis de Rougemont

... time, and from what we have heard of God, off and on, we don't believe he is going to let no ordinary man, bald-headed and appoplectic, carry off all the persimmons, and put his fingers to his nose and dare the ruler of the universe to tread on ...
— Peck's Compendium of Fun • George W. Peck

... now aiding me, and now Charles, until none of his knights well knew which way he was bent? I brought Charles de Blois to him a prisoner, and he let him go for a heap of yellow stuff, and fiddled with him, off and on, till Charles brake his pledged word, and lost his life, as he deserved, at Auray. I desire to know what right King Edward had, when I came to visit him after I had captured mine enemy, to make me ...
— The White Lady of Hazelwood - A Tale of the Fourteenth Century • Emily Sarah Holt

... anybody set by the farm it was Joseph. He was to blame for some things,—I never saw an Ashby that wasn't,—and I dare say he was aggravating. They were clearing a piece of woodland that winter, and the old man was laid up in the house with the rheumatism, off and on, and that made him fractious, and he and John connived together, till one day Joseph and Susan Ellen had taken the sleigh and gone to Freeport Four Corners to get some flour and one thing and another, and to have the horse shod beside, so they was likely to be gone two or three hours. ...
— Deephaven and Selected Stories & Sketches • Sarah Orne Jewett

... Tode, "I've decided to do them all. You learn me, will you? I'm to come up here every night after this with the seven o'clock mail. Just you make a letter on a paper for me, the big fellow, and the little one, you know, and I'll work at it off and on the next day, and have it ready for you at night. Will you ...
— Three People • Pansy

... consult his dentist,'" Guy answered, in the most matter-of-fact voice on earth, suppressing a tremor, "because you know I've had toothache off and on myself, one day with another, for the whole last fortnight. And it's a tooth that never ached with either of us before-this one, you see"—he lifted his lip with his forefinger—"the second on the left after the one we've lost. ...
— What's Bred In the Bone • Grant Allen

... strength of my right to my father's titles and estate; as if, with the tithe of the Nettlewood property alone, I would not be too good a match for one of his beggarly family. He must scheme, forsooth, this half-baked Scotch cake!—He must hold off and on, and be cautious, and wait the result, and try conclusions with me, this lump of oatmeal dough!—I am much tempted to make an example of him in the course ...
— St. Ronan's Well • Sir Walter Scott

... that a Dutch skipper, irritated with a foul wind, swore by donner and blitzen, that he would beat into Table Bay in spite of God or man, and that, foundering with the wicked oath on his lips, he has ever since been working off and on near the Cape. The term is now extended to false ...
— The Sailor's Word-Book • William Henry Smyth

... rain, and then again rain. For two weeks now, off and on, people had looked out through windows lashed with fine spears or glazed with watery skins which endlessly slipped down the pane. Muddy pools collected and spread across the street, the cars that drove ...
— Treasure and Trouble Therewith - A Tale of California • Geraldine Bonner

... emergency, and on the Somme a day's allowance when the battle was only "growling" was a month's a year previous. Let the general say the word and fifty thousand more shells will be fired on Thursday than on Wednesday. He throws off and on the switch of a Niagara of death. The infantry is the Oliver Twist of incessant demand. It would like a score of batteries turned on one machine gun, all the batteries in the army against a battalion front, and a sheet of shells in the air night and day, as you yourself would wish if you were ...
— My Second Year of the War • Frederick Palmer

... sound of a cab stopping at the door, and through a chink in the blinds Mr. Benjamin had seen a lady descend from it. In a moment his hat was off and on the peg, and he commenced writing a ...
— The New Tenant • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... reminds me o' something that 'appened to a young fellow I knew named Alf Simms. Being an orphan 'e was brought up by his uncle, George Hatchard, a widowed man of about sixty. Alf used to go to sea off and on, but more off than on, his uncle 'aving quite a tidy bit of 'ouse property, and it being understood that Alf was to have it arter he 'ad gone. His uncle used to like to 'ave him at 'ome, and Alf didn't like work, so ...
— Short Cruises • W.W. Jacobs

... this time Bladud never permitted his mind to permanently desert his calling; he found family matters a congenial study, and he thought of his swine a good deal, off and on. One day while baiting them amongst the hills, he observed a cloud of steam ascending from the valley below. Having always believed steam a modern invention, this ancient was surprised, and when his measly charge set up a wild squeal, rushing down a steep place ...
— Cobwebs From an Empty Skull • Ambrose Bierce (AKA: Dod Grile)

... Clark, all right," she said. "I knew him all his life, off and on. But I wish I hadn't screamed. I don't believe he killed Lucas, and I never will. I ...
— The Breaking Point • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... Off and on, he checked the hole into the other world. There was nothing but the slow progression of alien stars across the sky. Finally old Tom grew bored and left to investigate the hole under the lean-to. Shortly there ...
— Cat and Mouse • Ralph Williams

... answered Lieutenant ——, as he descended the companion way, after giving some orders on deck; "a regular gale this, by Jupiter; but we are spinning away ten knots, off and on." ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Vol. XX. No. 557., Saturday, July 14, 1832 • Various

... could make two hundred candles for a day's work. Some could dip two rods at a time. The tallow was constantly replenished, as the heavy kettles were used alternately to keep the tallow constantly melted, and were swung off and on the fire. Boards or sheets of paper were placed under the rods to protect the ...
— Home Life in Colonial Days • Alice Morse Earle

... water but because the boiler of the steamer Wrigley was lost here and still remains at the bottom of the basin. The walls of this rapid are as clear-cut as if wrought into smoothness by mallet and chisel. The tar-soaked sands appear off and on all the way to McMurray. Next comes the Long Rapid (Kawkinwalk Abowstick), which we run close to ...
— The New North • Agnes Deans Cameron

... a man and not like Burleigh," broke in the old trader impulsively. "I've known you off and on over twenty years, and you never used to talk in this asinine way until you got to running with him. Come right to the point—What crime is young Dean charged with? Those girls of mine will have to know it. They will know he's in arrest. What ...
— Warrior Gap - A Story of the Sioux Outbreak of '68. • Charles King

... were set in order, and that the wind increased towards night, we plied off and on, till day (13th November), at what time our Captain sent in ELLIS HIXOM, who had then charge of his pinnace, to search out some harbour along the coast; who having found out a little one, some ten or twelve leagues to the east of Santa Marta, where in sounding he had good ground ...
— Sir Francis Drake Revived • Philip Nichols

... Fig. 92. Telegraph keys are merely pieces of apparatus by which the circuit can be conveniently and rapidly opened or closed at the will of the operator. An ordinary push-button may be used to turn off and on the current, but it is not so convenient as a "key." Fig. 92 shows a side view of a simple key. C is a metal strip about 3/4 in. wide and 4 or 5 in. long. At the left end it is fastened to the base with a screw, A. Another screw, X, serves as one ...
— How Two Boys Made Their Own Electrical Apparatus • Thomas M. (Thomas Matthew) St. John

... obliged to you for coming—oh, sir, I'm grateful to you," cried the poor woman in the bed. "I've been ill, off and on, for years, but never took thought to it as I ought. I've put off and put off, waiting for a better time—and now, God help me, it's perhaps too late. Oh, sir, tell me, when a person's ill and dying, is it ...
— The Rector • Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant

... square," returned the voice of the coxswain, Israel Hands. "He's no fool, is Dick." And he turned his quid and spat. "But, look here," he went on, "here's what I want to know, Barbecue: how long are we a-going to stand off and on like a blessed bum-boat? I've had a'most enough o' Cap'n Smollett; he's hazed me long enough, by thunder! I want to go into that cabin, I do. I want their pickles and ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 6 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... spies who lived at that time in the service of the Austrian government. She was not a very clever woman, I am inclined to think, but she had been clever enough to induce a high official to fall in love with her, and by keeping this high official hanging off and on she had contrived to obtain promotion in her abominable calling far beyond her intellectual deserts. Brunow, it seemed, had known her for a year or two, but I learned afterwards that he had made no guess as to her real business ...
— In Direst Peril • David Christie Murray

... himself erect with a large, free movement as if he needed to stretch his limbs. "I can't stand more than six months of the East, and I've been here a year now, off and on. After a time I begin to want air. I want ...
— Life and Gabriella - The Story of a Woman's Courage • Ellen Glasgow

... most of the parish, isn't it? I never could see, exactly, what put it into his head to come so far. Not but what he makes out to do his duty as a pastor, pretty prompt, too. I don't hear any complaints. He's rather off and on about settling, though. I guess he's a man that keeps his intentions pretty close to himself—and all his affairs, for that matter. Of course he's a perfect right to. But I will say I like to know all about folks from the beginning. It ...
— Faith Gartney's Girlhood • Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

... tentative and initial), is this. The masses represented by filled bookcases are set one in front of another; and, in order that access may be had as it is required, they are set upon trams inserted in the floor (which must be a strong one), and wheeled off and on as occasion requires. ...
— On Books and the Housing of Them • William Ewart Gladstone

... mother; at least if they do not advance again. I shall be here off and on. I mean to find Dinah Morris if it is possible, and if I can obtain the slightest clew I shall follow it up and go wherever it may ...
— With Lee in Virginia - A Story of the American Civil War • G. A. Henty

... the lavatory there must be fresh soap and plenty of small hand towels. The lady's personal maid and one or two assistants if necessary, depending upon the size of the party, but one and all of them as neatly dressed as possible, assist ladies off and on with their wraps, and give ...
— Etiquette • Emily Post

... became the owner of the buckskin steed, not as my own property, however, but as a government horse that I could ride. I gave him the name of “Buckskin Joe,” and he proved to be a good second Brigham. That horse I rode off and on during the summers of 1869, '70, '71, and '72, and he was the horse that the Grand Duke Alexis rode on ...
— The Great Salt Lake Trail • Colonel Henry Inman

... nothin' about such things. There was one big one he made of Maggie that was as natural as life. He was always drawin' of her in one way or another, and had a lot of little pictures that didn't amount to much, and that he didn't never finish. But this big one he worked at off and on all summer. It was sure fine, with her a standin' by the ranch spring, holdin' out a cup of water, and smilin' like she ...
— The Shepherd of the Hills • Harold Bell Wright

... the honest Dutch tars, made but transient impression; they ate hugely, drank profusely, and slept immeasurably; and being under the especial guidance of Providence, the ship was safely conducted to the coast of America; where, after sundry unimportant touchings and standings off and on, she at length, on the fourth day of September, entered that majestic bay which at this day expands its ample bosom before the city of New York, and which had never before ...
— Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete • Washington Irving

... in many ways. Take for example the railroads running through the rural sections of the South. There are many flag stations where hundreds of our people get off and on the train. The railroads have little stops at the platform about six feet square; only one coach stops at this point; the negro women, girls and boys are compelled to get off and on the train sometimes in water and ...
— Negro Migration during the War • Emmett J. Scott

... "Off and on in the summer time," said Augusta. "Of course he could not take much of the duty, because he had a clergyman's throat. I think it a great pity that he should have gone off ...
— An Old Man's Love • Anthony Trollope

... rosy cheeks and plump figure elicited from me a gratulatory comment upon her robust appearance, indignantly informed me that she was "by no means strong, and had been doctorin' off and on for a year past for ...
— The Secret of a Happy Home (1896) • Marion Harland

... your Common Sense Medical Advisers, and found it worth five times what I gave for it; I have helped others to get it and the "Medical Discovery" and "Favorite Prescription" have brought relief to many through me I use the "Prescription" off and on; it has given me strength; I think I should have been an invalid long ago ...
— The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English • R. V. Pierce

... he looked confused—"I wanted to say that I am on the country-club committee to welcome English golfers, and I'll be away this week off and on. And—and whenever you want me to I'll try to keep under cover for a bit.... I think I do appreciate your telling me the truth last night more than anything else that has ever happened to me; there was something so stoically splendid about it—and I don't ...
— The Gorgeous Girl • Nalbro Bartley

... off and on; and at day-break the next morning, I steered for the N.W., or lee-side of the island; and as we stood round its S. or S.W. part, we saw it every where guarded by a reef of coral rock, extending, in some places, a full mile ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 • Robert Kerr

... She died on the 23rd of May, in her ninetieth year. The three avenues to Smith, says the Earl of Buchan, were always his mother, his books, and his political opinions—his mother apparently first of all. They had lived together, off and on, for sixty years, and being most tenderly attached to her, he is said, after her death, never to have seemed the same again. According to Ramsay of Ochtertyre, he was so disconsolate that people in general could find no explanation except in his supposed unbelief in the resurrection. ...
— Life of Adam Smith • John Rae

... the afternoon in rides Johnny Strange. He tells us he was out to Dan Armstrong's place when, about noon, a little gray-headed man that give the name of Pete Reeve came in and asked for chow. Of course Johnny Strange pricks up his ears when he hears the name. We all heard about Pete Reeve, off and on, as about the slickest gunman that the ranges ever turned out. So he looks Pete over and wonders at ...
— Bull Hunter • Max Brand

... and stood on it, and called out that she was on a hill. She jumped off and on a few times, and then said it would make a good table, and they might have tea ...
— Chambers's Elementary Science Readers - Book I • Various

... evening of the day when Major Duplay went to Fairholme, the two sat together in the garden after dinner. It was nine o'clock, a close still night, with dark clouds now and then slowly moving off and on to the face of a moon nearly full. They had been silent for some minutes, sipping coffee. Cecily pointed to the row of windows in the left wing of ...
— Tristram of Blent - An Episode in the Story of an Ancient House • Anthony Hope

... to which Salve belonged, was lying at that time at Sandvigen, and was only waiting for a north-east wind to come out. She was a square-rigged vessel, with a crew of nineteen hands all told, which had plied for many years in American waters, and off and on in the North Sea, and was reckoned at the time one of Arendal's largest craft. Her arrival or departure was quite an event for the town and neighbourhood; and to have a berth in her was considered among the sailors of the district ...
— The Pilot and his Wife • Jonas Lie

... counting Cinderella there are five,— She, and I, and Towser, and Charles, and the Prince of Wales—and three of us are really alive; And four of us can speak, and I'm sure the Prince of Wales is wonderful for his size; For his things (at least he's only got one thing) take off and on, and, though he's nothing but wood, he's got real glass eyes. And perhaps in three birthdays more there may be as many of us as the Smiths, for five and three make eight; I shall be seven years old then (as old as Joe), but I don't like to think too much of it, it's so long to wait. And after ...
— Verses for Children - and Songs for Music • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... up to Emily's," said Grandma. "They come from Providence and around, and they stay here, off and on, a week or two to a time, along through the winter, some of 'em. They fish pickerel on the river, and sometimes they're blue-fishin' out in the bay, and quite generally they're just kitin' round as young men will, I suppose. Sometimes they have vittles sent to ...
— Cape Cod Folks • Sarah P. McLean Greene

... journey which they had begun, for although he rode, like the rest of them, on one of the Eskimo sledges, the ice over which they had travelled along shore had been sufficiently rugged to necessitate constant getting off and on, as well as much scrambling over hummocks and broken ice. We have already said that Benjy was not very robust, though courageous and full of spirit, so that he was prone to leap from the deepest depths of despair ...
— The Giant of the North - Pokings Round the Pole • R.M. Ballantyne

... shores in 1786, and first determined their entire separation from the mainland. In 1787, Captain Dixon sailed off and on their north-west shores, with his vessel, the Queen Charlotte, naming the group, also North Island, Cloak Bay, Parry Passage, Hippa Island, Rennell Sound, Cape St. James, and Ibbitson's Sound, now known as Houston Stewart Channel. The first white men known to have landed upon the islands, were ...
— Official report of the exploration of the Queen Charlotte Islands - for the government of British Columbia • Newton H. Chittenden

... off and on between Sandy Hook and Coney Island for twenty-four hours, on the lookout for ...
— Freaks of Fortune - or, Half Round the World • Oliver Optic

... the star-dust that covered the sky came right to its very margin, and marked the outline of its unilluminated part. And as I stood and stared at the moon between my feet, that perception of the impossible that had been with me off and on ever since our start, returned again with ...
— The First Men In The Moon • H. G. Wells

... panic of their approach spread like the cholera. The three suspicious crafts had so long lain off and on, that none doubted they were led by the audacious viking, Paul Jones. At five o'clock, on the following morning, they were distinctly seen from the capital of Scotland, quietly sailing up the bay. Batteries were hastily thrown ...
— Israel Potter • Herman Melville

... was thickening worse than ever, though with no great amount of wind, and we started again in a fog so thick that from the bridge you could see her bows, and only just. Well, that's how it was with us, all the way across. We seemed to carry the fog; and though it lifted a bit, off and on, it never looked like giving us a chance of an observation. All yesterday afternoon I was worried by the thought that we'd overrun our reckoning and must be somewhere near the Islands, and about two o'clock—though the soundings were good—I ordered the engines to be reduced ...
— Major Vigoureux • A. T. Quiller-Couch

... with their own family pride and the large expectations they secretly cherished of a fortune in the Knobs of East Tennessee. How pinched they were perhaps no one knew but Clay, to whom they looked for almost their whole support. Washington had been in Hawkeye off and on, attracted away occasionally by some tremendous speculation, from which he invariably returned to Gen. Boswell's office as poor as he went. He was the inventor of no one knew how many useless contrivances, which were not worth patenting, and his years ...
— The Gilded Age, Complete • Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner

... had gone to watch the shore, saw, as the sun went down, a full-rigged vessel standing off and on. Coppinger came to the beach, put off in a boat to the vessel, and jumped on board. She spread canvas, stood off shore, and with Coppinger in her was seen no more. That night was one of storm. Whether the vessel rode it out, ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 4 • Charles Dudley Warner

... Bob Acres. It's my belief ye're no better than a coward," said Captain Costigan, quoting Sir Lucius O'Trigger, which character he had performed with credit, both off and on the stage, and after some more parley between the couple they separated in ...
— The History of Pendennis • William Makepeace Thackeray

... off and on that the young king was dead these many years, but not even in whispers did the men of Lutha dare voice the name of him whom they believed had caused his death. For lesser things they had seen their friends and neighbors thrown into the hitherto long-unused ...
— The Mad King • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... story when I was eighteen or so. Kept on writing off and on for almost twenty years. Of course, Robertson's thermo-nuc formula came along in '75, and after that everything went to pot. It knocked out the chances of future war, but it also knocked out the interest in speculation or escape-fiction. ...
— This Crowded Earth • Robert Bloch

... then, I ain't either!" Skinny declared. "If you two ain't willing to take turn about with the widow and love her off and on between you I'll be everlastingly hell-tooted if I'm going to stand for a whole one by myself all of the time! I'll go on strike ...
— The Ramblin' Kid • Earl Wayland Bowman

... off and on and take my chance, don't you know? I thought you'd soon get sick of that sort. You and I go together like two birds. I have been watching you all this time, you and old Derwentwater. What was that he said about to-morrow? I want to talk ...
— Sir Tom • Mrs. Oliphant

... listen. Some of them laughed. Others were frightened. He was an ugly brute—well over six feet tall, with a blonde beard, a hooked nose, and a pair of eyes that saw beyond reality. He was fascinating. He could turn his eloquence off and on like a tap. He sat in a drunken stupor, glaring at the crowd, until someone shouted: "Eh bien, Pilleux—you were saying?" Then the deluge! He had a peasant's acceptance of the elemental facts of life—it was raw, that hymn of his! The women of the streets who had crowded into the caf listened ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1921 • Various

... and promptitude, he got the consent of her father, who was glad to be rid of her out of the way of a new wife; took the trembling, clinging child to the nearest parson, and made her a pensioner on his small wages in a tiny lodging of her own. They honeymooned for a fortnight, off and on, as his ship could spare him—the happiest pair of mortals in the wide world—and then parted in tears and anguish unspeakable for the ...
— Sisters • Ada Cambridge

... anchored off the Rhu Ban Cove there would be plenty to be wondering why she was there. No, no, my lad; there's sailor men on the Gull, and a wee thing will not frighten them. She just ran before it, man, and she's standing off and on till ...
— The McBrides - A Romance of Arran • John Sillars

... West, where the Populist had been fusing with the Democrats off and on for several years, the combinations were arranged with little difficulty. In apportioning the places on the electoral tickets the strength of the respective parties was roughly represented by the number ...
— The Agrarian Crusade - A Chronicle of the Farmer in Politics • Solon J. Buck

... down the river and stood, off and on, near its entrance. Will was delighted with the bright sea, dotted with ships and fishing craft. The sun was shining, and there was just enough wind to send the smack along briskly through the water, without raising any waves ...
— For Name and Fame - Or Through Afghan Passes • G. A. Henty

... dreaming of me, and dreams, you know, must go by contraries. And how could it be otherwise? Although I am on the whole essentially better—on the whole!—yet the peculiar severity of the winter has acted on me, and the truth is that for the last month, precisely the last month, I have been feeling (off and on, as people say) very uncomfortable. Not that I am essentially worse, but essentially better, on the contrary, only that the feeling of discomfort and trouble at the heart (physically) will come with the fall of the thermometer, and the ...
— The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1 of 2) • Frederic G. Kenyon

... accordingly settled down at home. Work was once more found for me at Messrs Lund's mill; indeed, I have often since thought that the late Mr William Lund must have stipulated in his will that work was at all times to be found for me. Off and on, I must have worked at North Beck Mills some score times, and each time there was a sort of welcome reception for me. Perhaps my father's life-long connection with the firm had something to do with it. Be that as it may, I settled down, determined ...
— Adventures and Recollections • Bill o'th' Hoylus End



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