I came across the phrase off you go which has been frequently used in many movies.

Especially, the movie John Carter impressed me with this phrase. What does it mean in different scenarios/cases?

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    Please give an example of the context in which it is being used as part of your question. Normally, “Off you go” is a way of sending someone, especially a child, away to do something particular—but it may have other meanings in specific contexts. Aug 12, 2013 at 13:25
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    In that case, it is simply a less abrasive way of saying, “Shoo” or, “Go away”. Note how it is the head maid who says it to her ‘subordinates’—it may be less abrasive than, “Go away”, but it is still an order. ‘Off’ here means ‘away’; you might also hear, “Off with you”, which is more blunt. Aug 12, 2013 at 13:45
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    Aug 12, 2013 at 14:49
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    @Kristina Lopez, it does make sense to me now! Cheers! what an amazing website with great users! thanks again! Aug 12, 2013 at 14:52
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8 Answers 8


The meaning of “off you go” is somewhat difficult for an English language learner for two reasons. First, off has many meanings; second, the word order is unusual.

Off in the context of this phrase means away, with a sense of definite separation. You will also hear this sense of off in phrases about leaving or creating distance, such as “walked off”, “drove off”, “chased off”, and “off with his head”.

The more conventional word order for the command would be “you go off” (or “go off”), meaning “go away”, but the word order “off you go” is more idiomatic.

New English Dictionary, volume O


In common usage, the phrase off you go has a patronising or dismissive connotation.

It is something you say to dismiss a child - Off you go to school now or Off you go and tidy your room.

It is not used in addressing a superior, a customer or in similar situations where you would not wish to be thought of as even slightly rude.


'Off you go' means you can leave now. Usage : If you want someone to go away or go home, especially a kid but not in a rude way like 'get lost'.


I have seen off you go being used in two ways:

  1. As a casual dismissal message.

'OK, we're all done. Off you go.'

  1. As a way of saying one can start something (like a speech or a presentation).

'Are you ready to start?'


'Okay, off you go!'


I have run into the use of this expression with a different meaning, not having the sense of giving an order but to indicate that someone is ready to take action

Just make sure your parachute is properly setup and off you go! - In this case it means you are all set


I heard this idiom being used by one of the judges in Britain's Got Talent. It signalled the candidate to start his performance.


I think it is important to note that it is dismissive, you wouldn't say it to someone like a customer or boss, you might say it to a child or you might say it in jest to a friend. Also it is not really used in the US, it is an English expression.

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    Chenmunka expressed most of this. Jun 30, 2015 at 18:43
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    It is also not true that it is not used in the US. It is perfectly common in American English, too, though perhaps not quite as common as in British English. Jun 30, 2015 at 19:27

For me, it is like " you go girl! " - or "Get down to work!" :)

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