The expression "turn off" serves multiple purposes. Primarily, it means deactivating or switching something to an inactive state, as in turning off lights or a TV, indicating a shift from on to off. Additionally, it conveys a figurative meaning of causing a loss of interest or a feeling of disgust. Lastly, "turn off" can describe exiting or deviating from a specific path or route, such as leaving a highway for a side road or diverging from a hiking trail into the forest, symbolizing a departure from a set course.
- It means to switch something to the off position.
- It means to lose interest or feel disgusted.
- It means to leave or exit from a road or path.
The idiom "turn off" is multifaceted and has been used in various contexts. Let's explore its primary meanings and some related expressions.
The phrase "turn off" originated in the mid-19th century, around 1850, and primarily refers to stopping a flow, such as turning off a tap or light, a usage linked to physically manipulating a mechanism to halt an operation. With technological advancements, especially the introduction of electricity, this phrase evolved to signify the cessation of electrical flow, as seen in everyday expressions like "turn off the lights" or "turn off the TV." By the 1960s and 1970s, "turn off" had acquired a metaphorical dimension, used to describe something that diminishes enthusiasm or interest, reflecting its adaptation to changing social and technological contexts.
To better understand the varied uses of the idiom "turn off," here are ten illustrative sentences:
The idiom "turn off" has made several appearances in popular culture, further cementing its place in everyday language.
Here are some notable mentions:
Depending on the context, there are several alternative expressions one might consider:
At its core, "turn off" generally refers to stopping the function of something, whether it's a device, light, or even a path you might take. It can also refer to something that deters or repels interest.
The phrase "turn off" has its roots in the physical action of turning something to stop its function. As devices and machinery became more integrated into everyday life, the term evolved to mean stopping or ceasing an action.
Yes, "turn off" can be used in various contexts, from electronics to expressing disinterest in something or someone.
While "shut off" and "turn off" can often be used interchangeably, especially concerning devices, "shut off" can sometimes imply a more forceful or abrupt stoppage.
In a figurative sense, "turn off" can mean something that repels interest or appeal. For example, "His arrogance is a major turn off" implies that arrogance is a negative trait that reduces interest or attraction.
Yes, "turn off" is understood and used in English-speaking countries worldwide, though there might be slight variations or alternative phrases in different regions.
The opposite action of "turn off" is typically "turn on," meaning to activate or start something, or to generate interest or appeal in a figurative sense.
Yes, it can be. For instance, "The lights were turned off by the janitor" is a passive construction of the phrase.
For formal documentation, phrases like "deactivate," "cease," or "discontinue" might be used as alternatives to "turn off," depending on the context.
With the integration of technology in daily life, "turn off" is now commonly used to refer to electronic devices, applications, and digital platforms, expanding its application from its traditional physical contexts.
The phrase "turn off" has multiple meanings, but it most commonly refers to deactivating a device or a source of power. When we "turn off" a device, we stop it from functioning by interrupting the power supply or halting its operations. It can also mean to cause someone to feel dislike or to lose interest.