We were silent for the rest of the drive. I could feel the waves of infuriated disapproval rolling off of him, and I could think of nothing to say. (Twilight)

Tension rolled off of her, nearly visible in the air. I could feel the desire, the all-consuming passion that held her in its grip. Almost as if I could hear her thoughts, too, I knew what she was thinking. (Twilight 3 - Eclipse)

I could feel the tension rolling off Edward as he listened to Aro’s assessment of Carlisle’s words. The strain mounted as the seconds ticked by. (Twilight 4 - Breaking dawn)

  • onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/…: roll off (one's) back: Not to let something bother you, or get the best of you. E.g., "Just let her crap roll off your back." Not sure this makes sense in the context of your quotes though. Jul 11, 2020 at 15:30
  • 1
    It's a metaphorical extension of say 'You could see the sweat rolling off him". Jul 11, 2020 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


The meaning of "Roll off (of)" in the context used means to emanate from or give out. It is associated with feelings.

I could feel the waves of infuriated disapproval emanating from him, and I could think of nothing to say.

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    Please provide a reference for this assertion. (For instance, quote a dictionary definition and provide a link to it.) Jul 11, 2020 at 16:15
  • This may well be the correct explanation of what was intended by the phrase in the quoted text, but it should be noted that this is not how roll off is usually used.
    – jsw29
    Dec 8, 2020 at 17:25

I think that the first example explains the usage here: waves (usually as surf) roll. "Waves of disapproval … rolling off of" is a metaphor for being able to almost visualize the emotion emanating from the person. In the second and third example, I think the waves are implied, or at least that the tension is being visualized as a physical object. There are lots of other meanings for "roll off of" that would not make sense in this context.

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