When someone means to say that they got something from online, is it proper usage to say “I got that offline”? For instance, someone pulled an article from a website once and told me that they got it offline; that is, so to say, off of online. I feel that saying something was gotten “offline” is an incorrect usage, and it should instead be “gotten from online” or “gotten off the internet.” Is there any validity to using “offline” as a way to say off of the internet?

(Also, I could not find any definition matching such a usage in the dictionary.)

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    Is there a regionalisation at play here? I can see where “off” came from (off the internet), but it sounds odd to use an established antonym that way. – Lawrence Aug 10 at 4:25
  • @Lawrence I’ve heard it used with my own ears. – The Wordsmith Aug 10 at 5:46
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    Was it perhaps a peculiarity of speech, like some who use can to mean can’t? – Lawrence Aug 10 at 5:59
  • @Lawrence Maybe, but I’ve heard it used more than once. – The Wordsmith Aug 10 at 6:02
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    It would be proper to say "I've got that offline", meaning that they have an offline copy of the piece. "I got that offline" would imply that they got the piece from some offline source. I've rarely if ever heard this latter usage, after 50 years in the computer biz. – Hot Licks Aug 10 at 11:40

Being a programmer myself. I can say,

Online and Offline has mainly to do with a computer connected or not connected to the internet. Here, the key is the internet. I can say, I am working on my laptop offline. That means, I am working on my laptop, but not using internet.

In your case:someone pulled an article from a website once

That means, someone already saved that article on their laptop and now they have a copy for later perusal. Now, they can access it without any internet connection. So, yes, they can say they got it offline because now they are refereeing to the copy of the original article.

Example from Oxford dictionary:

‘Additionally, it allowed salespeople to synchronize data on their laptops for offline access - a specific demand of the sales force.’

‘System administrators have historically relied on offline archiving for data backup and storage.’

But, yes, if they say that they originally got the copy of the article offline, then they are wrong. First, you have to access online article and save it, and later you can access that copy offline.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Aug 11 at 18:41

When I'm not online I am offline. I get lots of things 'offline' - milk, newspaper, fresh air...

When I am online I say that I have obtained information -

off the web

off the internet


That said, I wonder whether the idomatic construction "...get something off something..." may be leading to 'line' being used increasingly as an alternative to 'the web' and 'the internet'. I realise that the resultant expression can be understood easily as the opposite of what is intended, but I have found myself saying, and heard others say,

>I got that off (space) line.

Quite often, and this may be the process whereby the new usage arrives, people mumble something like

>I got that off (of) online

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