drop off


  1. a vertical or very steep descent: The trail has a drop-off of several hundred feet.
  2. a decline; decrease: Sales have shown a considerable drop-off this year.
  3. a place where a person or thing can be left, received, accommodated, etc.: a new drop-off for outpatients.


  1. applied when a rented vehicle is left elsewhere than at the point of hire: to pay a drop-off charge.


  1. a small quantity of liquid that falls or is produced in a more or less spherical mass; a liquid globule.
  2. the quantity of liquid contained in such a globule.
  3. a very small quantity of liquid: I’ll have a little more tea, just a drop.
  4. a minute quantity of anything: not even a drop of mercy.
  5. Usually drops.
    1. liquid medicine given in a dose or form of globules from a medicine dropper.
    2. a solution for dilating the pupils of the eyes, administered to the eyes in globules by a medicine dropper.
  6. a limited amount of an alcoholic beverage: He occasionally takes a drop after dinner.
  7. an act or instance of dropping; fall; descent.
  8. the distance or depth to which anything drops: a ten-foot drop to the ground.
  9. a steep slope: a short drop to the lake.
  10. a decline in amount, degree, quality, value, etc.: a drop in prices.
  11. a small, usually spherical, piece of candy; lozenge: a lemon drop.
  12. a central depository where items are left or transmitted: a mail drop.
  13. a predesignated place where secret letters or packages can be left to be picked up by another person without attracting attention, as in espionage or drug dealing.
  14. something resembling or likened to a liquid globule, as certain ornaments, a spherical earring, etc.
  15. a pendant.
  16. a descent by parachute.
  17. an instance of dropping supplies by parachute or an amount of supplies so dropped.
  18. something that drops or is used for dropping.
  19. a group of persons dropped by parachute, as the personnel dropped by parachute during one military action.
  20. Theater.
    1. drop curtain.
    2. drop scene.
  21. trapdoor.
  22. a gallows.
  23. a slit or opening into which something can be dropped, as in a mailbox.
  24. (in a casino) the income from the sale of chips.
  25. a small flag, usually of enameled metal, that gives a visual signal in an annunciator.
  26. Furniture. an applied ornament resembling a pendant.
  27. Architecture. gutta(def 2).
  28. Nautical. the vertical dimension amidships of any sail that is bent to a standing yard.Compare hoist(def 6a).
  29. Also called drop panel. (in reinforced-concrete-slab construction) a thickened portion of the ceiling around a column head.
  30. Horology. the free motion of an escape wheel between successive checks by the pallet.
  31. the newborn young of an animal.

verb (used without object), dropped or dropt, drop·ping.

  1. to fall in globules or small portions, as water or other liquid: Rain drops from the clouds.
  2. to fall vertically; have an abrupt descent.
  3. to sink or fall to the ground, floor, or bottom as if inanimate.
  4. to fall lower in condition, degree, value, etc.; diminish or lessen; sink: The prices dropped sharply.
  5. to come to an end; cease; lapse: There the matter dropped.
  6. to fall or move to a position that is lower, farther back, inferior, etc.: to drop back in line; to drop to the rear.
  7. to withdraw; quit (often followed by out or from): to drop out of a race; to drop from a game.
  8. to pass or enter without effort into some condition, activity, or the like: to drop into sleep; to drop into a habit.
  9. to make an unexpected or unannounced stop at a place; pay an informal visit or call (usually followed by in, by, or over): Since we’re in the neighborhood, why don’t we drop in at my brother’s?
  10. to cease to appear or be seen; vanish: to drop from sight or notice.
  11. to fall wounded, dead, etc.: A thousand men dropped in the battle.
  12. to squat or crouch, as a dog at the sight of game.
  13. to move gently, as with the tide or a light wind (usually followed by down).
  14. Slang. to ingest an illicit drug orally; swallow.

verb (used with object), dropped or dropt, drop·ping.

  1. to let fall in drops or small portions: to drop lemon juice into tea.
  2. to let or cause to fall.
  3. to cause or allow to sink to a lower position.
  4. to cause to decrease in value, amount, quality, etc.; reduce.
  5. to utter or express casually or incidentally: to drop a hint.
  6. to write and send: Drop me a note.
  7. to bring to the ground by a blow or shot.
  8. to set down or unload, as from a ship, car, etc. (often followed by off): Drop me at the corner.
  9. to omit (a letter or syllable) in pronunciation or writing: He dropped his h’s.
  10. to lower (the voice) in pitch or loudness.
  11. to cease to keep up or have to do with: I dropped the subject. Will you drop your old friends if you win the lottery?
  12. to cease to employ, admit as a member, or include, as on a list; dismiss: to drop an accountant from the payroll; to drop three members of the club who have not paid their dues.
  13. to withdraw or cease to pursue: The police dropped the charges against the suspect.
  14. Sports.
    1. to throw, shoot, hit, kick, or roll (a ball, puck, etc.) through or into a basket, hole, or other goal: He dropped the ball through the basket for two points.
    2. to lose (a game or contest): They dropped two games in a row and were eliminated from the tournament.
  15. Football.
    1. to drop-kick (a ball).
    2. to score with a drop kick.
  16. (of animals) to give birth to: The cat dropped a litter of six kittens.
  17. to parachute (persons, supplies, etc.): The Marines dropped 300 combat troops into the jungle battlefield.
  18. to lengthen by lowering or letting out: to drop the hem of a skirt.
  19. to lower (the wheels) into position for landing an airplane.
  20. Slang. to take (especially an illicit drug) by swallowing; ingest: to drop LSD.
  21. Nautical. to pass out of sight of; outdistance.
  22. Cookery. to poach (an egg).

Verb Phrases

  1. drop behind, to fall short of the required pace or progress: Her long illness caused her to drop behind the rest of the class.
  2. drop off,
    1. to fall asleep.
    2. to decrease; decline: Sales have dropped off drastically.
  3. drop out,
    1. to withdraw from being a member or participant: to drop out of a club; to drop out of society and become a wanderer.
    2. to stop attending school or college.
  1. at the drop of a hat, at the slightest provocation or without delay: He’s ready to fight at the drop of a hat.
  2. drop dead, (used as an expression of contempt, disgust, impatience, etc.): If that’s the way you feel about it, drop dead!
  3. drop in the bucket. bucket(def 13).
  4. get/have the drop on,
    1. to aim and be ready to shoot a gun at an antagonist before the other person’s gun can be drawn.
    2. to get or have at a disadvantage.

verb (adverb)

  1. (intr) to grow smaller or less; decline
  2. (tr) to allow to alight; set down
  3. (intr) informal to fall asleep

noun drop-off

  1. a steep or vertical descent
  2. a sharp decrease


  1. a small quantity of liquid that forms or falls in a spherical or pear-shaped mass; globule
  2. a very small quantity of liquid
  3. a very small quantity of anything
  4. something resembling a drop in shape or size, such as a decorative pendant or small sweet
  5. the act or an instance of falling; descent
  6. a decrease in amount or value; slumpa drop in prices
  7. the vertical distance that anything may fall
  8. a steep or sheer incline or slope
  9. short for fruit drop
  10. the act of unloading troops, equipment, or supplies by parachute
  11. (in cable television) a short spur from a trunk cable that feeds signals to an individual house
  12. theatre See drop curtain
  13. another word for trap door, gallows
  14. mainly US and Canadian a slot or aperture through which an object can be dropped to fall into a receptacle
  15. nautical the midships height of a sail bent to a fixed yardCompare hoist (def. 6a)
  16. Australian cricket slang a fall of the wickethe came in at first drop
  17. See drop shot
  18. a drop in the bucket or a drop in the ocean an amount very small in relation to what is needed or desired
  19. at the drop of a hat without hesitation or delay
  20. have had a drop too much to be drunk
  21. have the drop on someone US and NZ to have the advantage over someone

verb drops, dropping or dropped

  1. (of liquids) to fall or allow to fall in globules
  2. to fall or allow to fall vertically
  3. (tr) to allow to fall by letting go of
  4. to sink or fall or cause to sink or fall to the ground, as from a blow, wound, shot, weariness, etc
  5. (intr; foll by back, behind, etc) to fall, move, or go in a specified manner, direction, etc
  6. (intr; foll by in, by, etc) informal to pay a casual visit (to)
  7. to decrease or cause to decrease in amount or valuethe cost of living never drops
  8. to sink or cause to sink to a lower position, as on a scale
  9. to make or become less in strength, volume, etc
  10. (intr) to sink or decline in health or condition
  11. (intr sometimes foll by into) to pass easily into a state or conditionto drop into a habit
  12. (intr) to move along gently as with a current of water or air
  13. (tr) to allow to pass casually in conversationto drop a hint
  14. (tr) to leave out (a word or letter)
  15. (tr) to set down or unload (passengers or goods)
  16. (tr) to send or postdrop me a line/text/email
  17. (tr) to discontinue; terminatelet’s drop the matter
  18. (tr) to cease to associate or have to do with
  19. (tr) slang, mainly US to cease to employhe was dropped from his job
  20. (tr; sometimes foll by in, off, etc) informal to leave or deposit, esp at a specified place
  21. (of animals) to give birth to (offspring)
  22. slang, mainly US and Canadian to lose (money), esp when gambling
  23. (tr) to lengthen (a hem, etc)
  24. (tr) to unload (troops, equipment, or supplies) by parachute
  25. (tr) nautical to leave behind; sail out of sight of
  26. (tr) sport to omit (a player) from a team
  27. (tr) to lose (a score, game, or contest)the champion dropped his first service game
  28. (tr) sport to hit or throw (a ball) into a goalhe dropped a 30 foot putt
  29. (tr) to hit (a ball) with a drop shot
  30. drop astern nautical to fall back to the stern (of another vessel)
  31. (tr) motor racing slang to spin (the car) and (usually) crash out of the race
  32. (tr) slang to swallow (a drug, esp a barbiturate or LSD)
  33. drop dead! slang an exclamation of contempt

noun, verb

  1. rugby short for drop kick or drop-kick

Old English dropa “a drop of liquid,” from Proto-Germanic *drupon (cf. Old Saxon dropo, Old Norse dropi, Dutch drop, Old High German tropfo, German Tropfen (n.)), from PIE *dhreu-.

Meaning “an act of dropping” is from 1630s; of immaterial things (prices, temperatures, etc.) from mid-19c. Meaning “lozenge, hard candy” is 1723. Meaning “secret place where things can be left illicitly and picked up later” is from 1931.

Drop in the bucket (late 14c.) is from Isa. ix:15 [KJV]. At the drop of a hat “suddenly” is from 1854; drop-in “casual visit” is 1819; drop-kick is 1857. To get the drop on someone originally was Old West gunslinger slang (1869).


Old English dropian “to fall in drops” (see drop (n.)). Meaning “to fall vertically” is late 14c. Transitive sense “allow to fall” is mid-14c. Related: Dropped; dropping. Exclamation drop dead is from 1934; as an adjective meaning “stunning, excellent” it is first recorded 1970.


  1. The smallest quantity of liquid heavy enough to fall in a spherical mass.
  2. A volume of liquid equal to 176 of a teaspoon and regarded as a unit of dosage for medication.
  3. A small globular piece of candy, usually readily dissolved in the mouth.


  1. To fall, be dispensed, or poured in drops.

Fall asleep, as in When I looked at Grandma, she had dropped off. [Early 1800s]


Decrease; also, become less frequent. For example, Sales have dropped off markedly, or Over the year her visits dropped off. [Early 1800s]


Deliver, unload, as in Bill dropped off the package at the office.


Die, as in He is so ill he could drop off any time. [Early 1800s]

In addition to the idioms beginning with drop

  • drop a bombshell
  • drop a brick
  • drop a dime
  • drop a line
  • drop back
  • drop behind
  • drop by
  • drop dead
  • drop in one’s tracks
  • drop in someone’s lap
  • drop in the bucket
  • drop like a hot potato
  • drop like flies
  • drop names
  • drop off
  • drop out
  • drop the ball

also see:

  • at the drop of a hat
  • bottom drops out of
  • get the drop on
  • hear a pin drop
  • let drop
  • wait for the other shoe to drop
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