Off the Record (Origin)

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Off the Record"?

The term "off the record" means non-attributable. In other words, it refers to something said in confidence or in an unofficial capacity.

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Off the Record (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • I have been out for a few dinners with him. Off the record, he's not a generous person.
  • There will be an announcement about a pay rise next week. Keep this to yourself. That was strictly off the record.
  • I will only speak off the record about Debra Winger. (Filmmaker Karel Reisz)
  • My wife and I love the series "Homeland." Sometimes, I ask news makers, off the record, what rings true about the show and what's ridiculous. (News presenter David Gregory)
This idiom was popularized by President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. The following extract is from the North Carolina newspaper "The Daily Times-News," in November 1932:
  • "He [Roosevelt] said that he was going to talk 'off the record', that it was mighty nice to be able to talk 'off the record' for a change and that he hoped to be able to talk 'off the record' often in the future. He told a couple of funny stories and everybody laughed and cheered."

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.