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off the record

Meaning: If you say something "off the record", you don't want it in the public record, or reported in the media.

For example:

  • The minister has refused to speak to reporters since something he said off the record was reported in a newspaper.

  • Most politicians realise that just saying something is "off the record" isn't enough to ensure it won't be reported.

Note: 1. Opposite to "on the record", which means something is said on the understanding that it will be part of the public record, and can be reported in the media. 2. If used to modify a noun or a noun phrase, hyphens must be added, as in "off-the-record comments".

Quick Quiz:

If the president makes some comments off the record, he doesn't want the comments to
  1. be believed
  2. be reported
  3. be questioned

Discuss: off the record

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