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Re: Origin of 'come off'

Posted by Smokey Stover on January 31, 2005

In Reply to: Origin of 'come off' posted by Joe Grocott-James on January 30, 2005

: Does anyone know the origin of the phrase 'come off', meaning to succeed in something?

The OED lists three meanings for "come off," not including the one Mr. Grocott-James is inquiring about. I think the word as used to mean "to succeed" is probably a 20th-century derivative of the first meaning attested in the MWOD, as follows:
"Main Entry: come off
Date: 1596
intransitive senses
1 a : to acquit oneself : FARE b : APPEAR, SEEM
2 : SUCCEED "

I daresay that the TV Guide did not coin this particular usage, but adopted an already common colloguial use. SS