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one-off: (n.) something done, made, or happening only once, not as part of a regular sequence; "the meeting is a one-off"

I've been using the phrase 一次性 to mean "one-off" (or "once-off"), which my iTalki teacher indicated didn't have this meaning, but I still don't know what the correct expression is. E.g., I might say...

the meeting is a one-off
会议是一次性的

YouDao gives 一次性 and 绝无仅有, neither of which seem appropriate.

Question: How can I express the concept of a "one-off"?

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  • Depending on the context, it might be better to simply use the negative definition (that is, a one-off meeting is non-recurring), so just say 会议是不重复/非周期性的(or 非定期/临时, if appropriate)
    – EEQ
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 1:09
  • I feel that 一次过 is what you want. Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 1:54
  • Are you sure you want a self-contained sentence "This meeting is a one-off.", as opposed to using the expression inside a longer sentence, such as "During tomorrow's one-off 2pm meeting, we will discuss the budget for our project."?
    – Stef
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 15:16

5 Answers 5

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The term "one-off" is a common term in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It's also commonly used in the US or Canada, though to a lesser extent.

There are mainly 3 types of "one-off"s in English.

  1. 一次性 (Formal, sometimes governmental) activities done, made, or happening only once. When it ends it will not be done / be created / happen again.

one-off donation 一次性捐款 / one-off grant 一次性拨款 / one-off deduction 一次性扣除

Chile made a one-off cash bonus payment to the poorest 40 per cent.

智利向最贫穷的那40%的人口支付了一笔一次性现金补助。

Government introduces one-off resident visa for 160,000 migrants

政府向16万移民发放一次性居民签证

In some Chinese-speaking communities where 性 is used exclusively for sex-related terms in local Chinese varieties, it's translated differently. In Hong Kong: 一次過.

  1. No corresponding term in Chinese. Events / things done, made, or happening only once. Not counted as part of a regular sequence.

The concept of emergency as a one-off, unpredicted crisis also needs to be reconsidered.

还需要重新考虑紧急情况这个概念是否能被定义为一种偶发而出乎意料的危机。

(Technically speaking, "偶发" is not the equivalence of "one-off". )

The meeting is a one-off. 这个会议是临时的。

(Technically speaking, one-off meeting ≠ ad hoc meeting 临时(特设)的会议. )

  1. 只/仅此一* (* = a measure word,e.g. 只此一次、只此一家、只此一件) Something that is unique and oftentimes valuable. If you miss it you'll never see / use / experience it again. You will regret it.

one-off design

只此一款的设计

New Ferrari SP51 unveiled as a one-off commission

法拉利新车SP51正式亮相,全球仅此一辆 / 仅此一台

Blur Reuniting For A ONE-OFF Show At Wembley Stadium

仅此一场!Blur乐队重聚温布利球场演唱会

——————————————————————————————————————————

There are mainly 3 types of "一次性"s in Chinese.

  1. Disposable

一次性手套 disposable gloves

  1. One-off

一次性捐款 one-off donation

  1. In one go

一次性通过所有考试 pass all exams in one go

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  • 1
    Unless it is because it is used all the time in the UK/Australia/NZ and I just don't realize it, I would not say that "one-off" is not that common in Canada. I would agree that "one-time" is more commonly used than "one-off" and that "one-off" has a more casual tone to it than "one-time" does in Canada, but "one-off" does not seem that rare or foreign to me. Anyway, +1 for the nice explanation. Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 17:02
  • 1
    Thanks. I've updated my answer.
    – user
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 5:27
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one-off = one time only = 只此一次

the meeting is a one-off

只此一次的会议

Note 1:

一次性 = disposable

绝无仅有 = the one and only

Note 2:

one-off is an adjective

one-off event is a noun

Saying one-off is a noun is like saying disposable is a noun

Example:

This meeting is a one-off (event)

They call us the old folks the disposable(people)

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the meeting is a one-off

会议是一次性的

If this sentence only, I reckon it's correct. It may be inaccurate in some context: e.g. if this sentence is in a dialog to distinguish it from "Regular meeting" 例会,you can say "这是个临时会议" or similar to express.

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According to my dictionary, "one-off" is an adjective that means " 一次性的", as in "a one-off payment". It can be used as a noun, that means "一次性事物", such as "the meeting is a one-off".

one-off (UK) one-shot (US)

ADJECTIVE

  • something done, made, or happening only once and not repeated - "one-off tax deductible donations to charity" synonyms:

NOUN

  • something done, made, or happening only once, not as part of a regular sequence - "the meeting is a one-off"
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Apparently, one-off, sounding suspiciously like 'one of', referred originally to a prototype of a manufactured product. The phrase was only later used figuratively.

one-off: 一次性

Vespa builds a one-off, four seater ‘Stretch Scooter’.
伟士牌(Vespa)制造了一款一次性四座“踏板车”.

(God, I remember driving that Vespa the first time! My brother said, "Careful, the clutch is a bit fierce on these." Next second I was in the hedge!)

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