In computer science, an offset within an array or other data structure object is an integer indicating the distance from the beginning of the object up until a given element or point, presumably within the same object. The concept of a distance is valid only if all elements of the object are the same size .

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  1. Anything that acts as counterbalance; a compensating equivalent.
    Today's victory was an offset to yesterday's defeat.
  2. A form of countertrade arrangement, in which the seller agrees to purchase within a set time frame products of a certain value from the buying country. This kind of agreement may be used in large international public sector contracts such as arms sales.
  3. A time at which something begins; outset.
  4. A printing method, in which ink is carried from a metal plate to a rubber blanket and from there to the printing surface.
  5. The difference between a target memory address and a base address.
    An array of bytes uses its index as the offset, of words a multiple thereof.
  6. The distance by which one thing is out of alignment with another.
    There is a small offset between the switch and the indicator which some users found confusing.
  7. A short distance measured at right angles from a line actually run to some point in an irregular boundary, or to some object.
  8. An abrupt bend in an object, such as a rod, by which one part is turned aside out of line, but nearly parallel, with the rest; the part thus bent aside.
  9. A short prostrate shoot that takes root and produces a tuft of leaves, etc.
  10. A spur from a range of hills or mountains.
  11. A horizontal ledge on the face of a wall, formed by a diminution of its thickness, or by the weathering or upper surface of a part built out from it; a set-off.


  1. To compensate for something.
    I'll offset the time difference locally.
    to offset one charge against another
  2. To form an offset in (a wall, rod, pipe, etc.).

The above text is a snippet from Wiktionary: offset
and as such is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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