offset (n.) = 1550s, "act of setting off" (on a journey, etc.), from off + set (adj.).
Meaning "something 'set OFF' against something else, a counterbalance" is from 1769; the verb in this sense is from 1792.
Abbreviate 'something' to 'sth'. 1. What does the prefix off signify?
- What imagery can explain off ? Envisage an unbalanced scale like:
Then balancing demands decreasing Work or increasing Life: but how can either be sensed as off?
- Isn't off redundant? Doesn't 'to set sth (something) against sth else'
= 'to set sth off against sth else' ?