I (this is in the United States) regularly encounter a lady who can’t speak English well, so she can be hard to understand. I work in a restaurant, and it can be hard to understand her order because she doesn’t go off the menu.

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    What's the source of the text? Commented May 29 at 22:19
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    I don't understand the question. "go off the menu" is something you said, why are you asking it what it means? Is this something your supervisor or coworker said to you about the lady?
    – Barmar
    Commented May 29 at 23:01
  • Aren't 'bacon McDoubles' and 'bacon McDoubles' the same order? Either 6 of them, or 7 of them, or she can't remember which menu number it is. Perhaps she drives off because the sales assistant can't figure out that she knows what she wants, but not what the exact menu item is. Commented May 29 at 23:02
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    Assuming she doesn't eat 6 double burgers each time, maybe you mean order #6 or #7? "She doesn’t go off the menu to read" must mean she doesn’t read her order off the menu, but off the top of her head. Maybe. Commented May 29 at 23:07
  • @EdwinAshworth: Your edit changed the original question from "go off the menu" to "doesn't go off the menu" and removes information that was relevant to existing answers.
    – TimR
    Commented May 30 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


Here go off doesn’t mean anything like proceed away from. Compare

Please pick two off our list of side dishes.

In both cases, off means "from" or "that are found within." And go here has the same sense as in

I’ll go with the coleslaw and onion rings.

Thus, she doesn’t go off the menu means that in deciding what to order, she doesn’t select from the offerings laid out in the menu, or anyway, that she describes her choices in ways that it is hard to associate with what is laid out in the menu.

  • TimR expressed this well, with 'to "go off" or "go from" a text means to rely upon that text.' His example was 'Going off what it says here in the instructions, we should be putting the M6 screws in the table leg, not in the chair.' 'Using as a basis for decision.' There is a careful reading and accurate interpretation of instructions, then a pronouncement or perhaps an informed decision. I'm not sure just using a menu to order is really a good place to use the expression. Commented May 30 at 22:24

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