- The definition of trade off is an exchange where you give up one thing in order to get something else that you also desire.
An example of a trade off is when you have to put up with a half hour commute in order to make more money.
trade-off definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
an exchange; esp., a giving up of one benefit, advantage, etc. in order to gain another regarded as more desirable
also written tradeoff
trade-off - Phrases/Idioms
Exchange one thing for another, especially as a compromise. For example, They were willing to trade off some vacation for the freedom to work flexible hours. This idiom gave rise to tradeoff for “an exchange.” [First half of 1800s]