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Thread: key off

  1. #1
    euncu's Avatar
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    key off

    Hello,

    This phrase is from an interview with Brian Cranston (¡COLORES! Episode 1927: Brian Cranston & the end of "Breaking Bad" - YouTube @08:22). I looked it up but I couldn't find its meaning.

    Thanks for your answers in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: key off

    It's not a phrase I have heard before, but the context ["so pretty soon you start keying off each other.."] makes it clear that it is being used to mean two individuals inspiring one another. It is similar to "bouncing ideas off" one another.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. #3
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    Re: key off

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Hello,

    This phrase is from an interview with Brian Cranston (¡COLORES! Episode 1927: Brian Cranston & the end of "Breaking Bad" - YouTube @08:22). I looked it up but I couldn't find its meaning.

    Thanks for your answers in advance.
    He is talking about 2 men who are brainstorming. Each shares a thought and that stimulates a thought in the other, and on and on. This is "keying off" each other.

  4. #4
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    Re: key off

    Thanks for your answers Grumpy and MikeNewYork.

    So, can I say from your answers that this is a known phrase in the USA and not in the UK?

  5. #5
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    Re: key off

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Thanks for your answers Grumpy and MikeNewYork.

    So, can I say from your answers that this is a known phrase in the USA and not in the UK?
    It is known in the US, but I wouldn't say it was common.

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: key off

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post

    So, can I say from your answers that this is a known phrase in the USA and not in the UK?
    That would be a questionable generalisation. You've only heard from one person in each country.

  7. #7
    euncu's Avatar
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    Re: key off

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    That would be a questionable generalisation. You've only heard from one person in each country.
    Well, you may be right in terms of logic but I see our teachers including you as very good represantatives of their languages. It's the advantage of picking from the top shelf.

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    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: key off

    You're too kind.

  9. #9
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    Re: key off

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    It's the advantage of picking from the top shelf.
    A shelf which, in the UK, we share with magazines of questionable morality (and ever-diminishing quality).
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: key off

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Thanks for your answers Grumpy and MikeNewYork.

    So, can I say from your answers that this is a known phrase in the USA and not in the UK?
    If it's a fashionable usage and appears in a few TV series, you can bet that it will start being used in the UK too.

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