off-color

Something that's off-color is offensive or vulgar. Your parents might stop inviting your uncle for Thanksgiving after years of his embarrassing, off-color jokes.

You'll most often find the adjective off-color describing jokes that make some listeners laugh, but offend or disgust others. Standup comedians are frequently famous for their off-color humor, while politicians caught telling off-color stories can face serious career difficulties. Before American English adopted off-color to mean "in questionable taste," this adjective was used to describe faulty gemstones.

Definitions of off-color
  1. adjective
    in violation of good taste even verging on the indecent
    “an off-color joke”
    synonyms: indelicate, off-colour
    tasteless
    lacking aesthetic or social taste
  2. adjective
    humorously vulgar
    off-color jokes”
    synonyms: bawdy, ribald
    dirty
    (of behavior or especially language) characterized by obscenity or indecency
Word Family
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