off the subject

Also found in: Acronyms, Idioms.
References in classic literature ?
Still anxious to keep off the subject of affection, on which she believed him to have become crazed, she made another effort to keep his mind elsewhere.
Elinor looked surprised at his emotion; but trying to laugh off the subject, she said to him, "Do not you know my sister well enough to understand what she means?
The only thing I could not do, was to keep off the subject of the Moonstone
Sometimes he sheered off the subject, or turned the conversation by pretending not to understand, but generally he answered all I asked most frankly.
As no explanation was forthcoming, she shook off the subject as too difficult for a girl, and led him further into the wood, pausing every now and then at some particularly beautiful or familiar combination of the trees.
Well, there was Mystery,' the Mock Turtle replied, counting off the subjects on his flappers, `--Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seaography: then Drawling--the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: HE taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.
Then came McCain's turn - a tour de force, fuelled by emotion, which roamed on and off the subject, in and around jump racing and life with Beryl.
Barthes continued:</p> <pre> The other reading skips nothing; it weighs, it sticks to the text, it reads, so to speak, with application and transport, grasps at every point in the text the asyndeton which cuts the various languages--and not the anecdote: it is not (logical) extension that captivates it, the winnowing out of truths, but the layering of significance; as in the children's game of topping hands, the excitement comes not from a progressive haste but from a kind of vertical din (the verticality of language and of its destruction); it is at the moment when each (different) hand skips over the next (and not after the other) that the hole, the gap, is created and carries off the subject of the game--the subject of the text.
Dunchurch-based Bell reflected on a job well done as he continued to make the most of his opportunities at this level - but he could not keep his mind off the subject of this summer's much-awaited Ashes for long.
In our annual Manufacturing Trends Survey (p29), amidst all the graphs about food safety, labor and energy, is one that's a little off the subject but perhaps the most important.