Is it correct to say "I am heading off" when I am about to leave?

Is it informal? If so, what's the formal equivalent?

  • 1
    Yes, it's informal. "I am leaving now" is a more formal equivalent, but there are others.
    – user21497
    May 24, 2013 at 8:41
  • It is informal but it is in no way rude or vulgar. You won't use it in formal writing but it is perfectly acceptable in polite conversation.
    – terdon
    May 24, 2013 at 11:21

2 Answers 2


It implies to me a departure for a particular destination.

If you were going into another room I doubt that you'd say that you're "heading off" there, though you would be leaving your current room. It would be more common if you were "heading off to the shops" or "heading off to the airport"

  • Yes. Heading suggests (a direction towards) a destination.
    – Kris
    May 24, 2013 at 12:24

I suspect this is some sort of nautical idiom, but, in any event, I would say it's perfectly acceptable. It's definitely informal though, so only to be used in an informal context.

Formal suggestions: I must take my leave ;). There are many ways to say this.

  • Not necessarily nautical. It could also refer to aircrafts. A vehicle's heading is determined by the direction that its front or nose or head is pointing.
    – tylerharms
    May 24, 2013 at 9:04

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