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    #1

    [offset] His blonde hair offset a deep tan.

    According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English,
    offset (v.): 1 if the cost or amount of something offsets another cost or amount, the two things have an opposite effect so that the situation remains the same
    2 to make something look better by being close to it and different: His blonde hair offset a deep tan.
    I think I don't fully understand the second sense. Could anyone explain the second sense and the accompanying illustrating sentence further please?
    Much appreciated. Thank all of you very much.
    Please notify me of any mistakes in my posts. It is much appreciated.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: [offset] His blonde hair offset a deep tan.

    In the context of suntan, we normally expect that a person with dark hair and eyes is better able to acquire a suntan than a fair person. When we encounter deeply-tanned person with fair hair and eyes we say that the complexion offsets the tan. Similarly, if we saw a shabbily dressed man getting out of a Rolls-Royce, we might say that his wardrobe offsets his obvious wealth.

    I do not think it is a very common usage.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: [offset] His blonde hair offset a deep tan.

    It seems to be used in fashion more frequently. "Her black dress was offset by a neon pink handbag".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: [offset] His blonde hair offset a deep tan.

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    In the context of suntan, we normally expect that a person with dark hair and eyes is better able to acquire a suntan than a fair person. When we encounter deeply-tanned person with fair hair and eyes we say that the complexion offsets the tan. Similarly, if we saw a shabbily dressed man getting out of a Rolls-Royce, we might say that his wardrobe offsets his obvious wealth.

    I do not think it is a very common usage.
    But how exactly are your explanation and the example sentence above related to the meaning "to make something look better by being close to it and different"?
    Please help me. I still fail to understand the connection between them.

    Please notify me of any mistakes in my posts. It is much appreciated.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: [offset] His blonde hair offset a deep tan.

    To be honest, I don't entirely agree with their definition! I don't say that very often.

    Perhaps I should say that, although that is the correct definition, it has come to be used in a slightly different way. For me "His blond hair offset a deep tan" simply means that his blond hair served to make his already dark tan look even darker. I don't think it means that either his hair or his tan looked better by being seen together.

    With the example I gave about the dress and the handbag, I actually think it simply suggests that having a bright pink handbag added something to the simple plain black dress. Whether it actually made the dress look better is very subjective. In some cases, I think it can even mean that two things complement each other.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: [offset] His blonde hair offset a deep tan.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    To be honest, I don't entirely agree with their definition! I don't say that very often.

    Perhaps I should say that, although that is the correct definition, it has come to be used in a slightly different way. For me "His blond hair offset a deep tan" simply means that his blond hair served to make his already dark tan look even darker. I don't think it means that either his hair or his tan looked better by being seen together.

    With the example I gave about the dress and the handbag, I actually think it simply suggests that having a bright pink handbag added something to the simple plain black dress. Whether it actually made the dress look better is very subjective. In some cases, I think it can even mean that two things complement each other.
    And what does it mean by "being close to it and different"? This phrase seems quite vague to me.
    Thanks.
    Please notify me of any mistakes in my posts. It is much appreciated.

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    #7

    Re: [offset] His blonde hair offset a deep tan.

    His blond hair is near his tanned skin and is a very different colour- the contrast (blond hair/brown skin) makes the tan look darker..

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: [offset] His blonde hair offset a deep tan.

    Quote Originally Posted by khanhhung2512 View Post
    But how exactly are your explanation and the example sentence above related to the meaning "to make something look better by being close to it and different"?
    Please help me. I still fail to understand the connection between them.

    This issue in your example is "contrast". There is a contrast between the light hair and the dark skin.

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