"retreat, end annoying some body," by 1938, from the spoken expression, from back (v.) + off (adv.).
move backwards from a specific position
- eliminate yourself from a responsibility
Their artillery driven back off the ridges formed a long line from Stosser to Plotist facing the enemy, and under cover of its fire the infantry at length succeeded in withdrawing, for the Prussian reserve cavalry arrived late on the ground, and the local disconnected efforts of the divisional cavalry were checked by the still intact Austrian squadrons.