Webster 1913 Edition
That which is set off against another thing; an offset.
I do not contemplate such a heroine as a
set-offto the many sins imputed to me as committed against woman.
That which is used to improve the appearance of anything; a decoration; an ornament.
A counterclaim; a cross debt or demand; a distinct claim filed or set up by the defendant against the plaintiff’s demand.
☞ Set-off differs from recoupment, as the latter generally grows out of the same matter or contract with the plaintiff's claim, while the former grows out of distinct matter, and does not of itself deny the justice of the plaintiff's demand. Offset is sometimes improperly used for the legal term set-off. See
Offset originally denoted that which branches off or projects, as a shoot from a tree, but the term has long been used in America in the sense of set-off. This use is beginning to obtain in England; though Macaulay uses set-off, and so, perhaps, do a majority of English writers.
Webster 1828 Edition
The right of pleading a set-off depends on statute. Blackstone.
NOTE.- In new England, offset is sometimes used for set-off. But offset has a different sense, and it is desirable that the practice should be uniform, Wherever the English is spoken.