Rip-off or rip off

Rip-off or rip off is an interesting idiom that came into use in the twentieth century. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions that native speakers understand such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, eye to eye, barking up the wrong tree, hit the nail on the head, kick the bucket, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom rip-off or rip off, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

A rip-off is the act of stealing something or the act of cheating or exploiting someone. Rip-off, a hyphenated compound word, is a noun. Rip off means stealing something or cheating or exploiting someone. Rip off, an open compound word, is a verb. Related terms are rips off, ripped off, ripping off. The term rip-off or rip off is an American expression that came into use in the 1960s and is borrowed from African-American slang. Hippie culture adopted the term and it spread into the general population rapidly.


HEALTH bosses are to scrap the “rip-off” scheme which sees patients at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary charged £5 to watch two hours’ television. (The Edinburgh News)

If that sentence seems familiar, that’s because it’s a word-for-word rip-off of a synopsis of the popular J.J. Abrams series, Lost. (The Heights)

German artist Martin Wojciechowski (a.k.a. “1010”) is claiming luxury brand Hermès ripped off one of his pieces for its Japan and Korea airport shops. (The New York Post)

Does the Resort 2020 fashion line evoke ‘the playful and colourful mood of a Latin holiday’ or rip off indigenous designs? (The Guardian)

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