The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Not for publication or attribution: off-the-record comments by the senator.
off-the-record - Phrases/Idioms
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Unofficially, in confidence, not for publication, as in What he was about to say, he told the reporters, was strictly off the record. Probably alluding to striking evidence from a court record (because it is irrelevant or improper), this term came into wide use in the mid-1900s, especially with reference to persons who did not wish to be quoted by journalists. For antonyms, see go on record; just for the record.