Is the usage (someone) is off for lunch correct?

I think the preceding usage is right but I am not pretty sure.

Related question

  • What's the question? I've always heard it said "XYZ is out to lunch". Are you asking about the phrasing of the idiom?
    – Dodgie
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 5:35
  • No, I would like to know if "XYZ is off for lunch" is correct to use. "XYZ is out to lunch" is surely right. Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 5:41
  • 1
    Oh, okay. Personally, I think it's right as long as your meaning is understood and your usage isn't misleading. Idioms are by definition flexible... Subscribed for answers
    – Dodgie
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 5:46

3 Answers 3


Yes, very informal, found mainly in speech/ tweets/ blogs.

Off for lunch = out to lunch.

Joe Watson is off for Lunch with the family. via @aryjoecreatives.
… during the period that the employee is off for lunch that they …
… When the group is having a coffee break or it is off for lunch in the foyer, …
… while the camera crew is breaking or if EVERYONE is off for lunch.

Note the other errors of grammar, spelling and style showing that it is casual writing.

~442,000 results on GoogleSearch.

See nGram.

Remember that the other expression out to lunch is an idiom that has other connotations as well, and should be used with care!


While off for lunch is not idiomatic in the same way out to lunch is, I can certainly be off for lunch if I am on at other times:

He works a modified schedule. He's on call from 10 to 2, then off for lunch from 2 to 3, then back on from 3 to 7.

I could also be off to lunch if I'm leaving for lunch.

I just need to finish this report, then it's off to lunch with my girlfriend.

  • Why the downvote?
    – choster
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 6:55

Off for lunch is correct. Out at lunch is also correct. Out to lunch, not so much. Out to lunch doesn't mean that a person's having a lunch, instead it means, quoting:

a person who simply doesn't know something isn't out to lunch. Being out to lunch requires that you not know something, that you don't know you don't know it, and that you don't make any attempts to understand it (probably because you don't know you don't understand).

Basically, an out to lunch person is someone that's not paying attention.


  • 1
    This does not answer the question, which is about "Off for lunch."
    – user867
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 6:36
  • Also, "Out to lunch" can, in fact, mean that someone is out having lunch. The meaning you quote depends on it, in fact: The idiom makes the analogy that the individual in question is so unaware of the something that they might as well be at the sandwich place two blocks away as where they are, for all the effect it would have on their awareness.
    – user867
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 6:40
  • The question is if off for lunch is correct, and I stated that it is. He then on the comment stated that out to lunch is correct, so I merely answered that it's not (entirely correct on the context of having a lunch, and should be avoided if possible). Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 6:42
  • 1
    Your answer doesn't state anything about "off for lunch"; Just "Out for lunch," "Out at lunch" and "Out to lunch." You might want to proofread your first paragraph. Three outs... I'm sure there's a baseball joke here.
    – user867
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 6:51
  • Ah! The first one is indeed supposed to be off for lunch instead of out for lunch. +1 for the pun. Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 6:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.