Past Phrasle (#594)

Sunday, September 10, 2023

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Puzzle #593

off the cuff
Idiomatic phrase used to describe something that is done spontaneously, without prior preparation or planning. When someone is said to be speaking "off the cuff," it means that they are speaking extemporaneously rather than reading from a prepared text or following a script.
The origin of the term is not entirely clear, but one popular explanation suggests that it comes from the practice of jotting down notes on the cuff of one's shirt sleeve as a quick reference. This would allow someone to speak or respond to questions without appearing to be reading from a prepared document, thus giving the impression of spontaneity.