Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Happening, done, or made only once.
  • n. Something that is not repeated or reproduced.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Occurring once; one-time.
  • n. Something that is done, created, etc. only once, and often quickly, simply, or improvisationally.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a happening that occurs only once and is not repeated

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from foundry work, for which making reusable molds is expensive and expediency the rule for molds not to be reused.

Examples

  • Fiscal discipline is theoretically a laudable goal, though in this case the agreement won't prevent governments from embarking on Keynesian spending sprees as "one-off and temporary measures"—the definition of "one-off" presumably being in the eye of the beholder.

    Seventeenth Brussels Washout

  • These so-called one-off expenses are not as uncommon as people think.

    Tough Love for Retirees

  • The damning report said the violence could not be described as a "one-off" because of evidence that 1QLR troops abused and mistreated Iraqi civilians on other occasions.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • Each of the Park Avenue Armory performances is an Event - that is, a one-off Cunningham anthology.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Is it the sort of thing that only works as a one-off now and then on the basis of generosity more than anything else?

    Scruffians Stamp: Sold to... Everyone!

  • If you followed them back far enough, you might actually get to little tidbits and one-off quotes from “conservatives” that looked like they were dredged up out of context by Media Matters.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Why NFIB Is Challenging ObamaCare

  • Grief counseling can be a long-term process, a short-term affair or even a one-off, trumny and can occur on a one-to-one basis or in groupstrumny (Quote)

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Abortion Deal

  • In China, Xia Bom, an adviser to the People's Bank of China, China's central bank, did not rule out this week a one-off revaluation upward of the Chinese currency.

    Robert Lenzner: A Tipping Point for the Dollar and the Yuan

  • But because each Worldcon is a one-off event, fiscal prudence always wins over new ideas.

    Time to throw open the doors «

  • Except that was a one-off joke instead of the resolution of the entire series.

    The God Tangent «

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