Printable Version
Pronunciation: awf-shor Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To outsource or subcontract a high-paying job overseas to a less developed country where wages are significantly lower.

Notes: The adjective offshore usually means in the ocean, away from the shore, as an offshore oil drilling rig or an offshore bank account located on an island. It is a poor candidate for the meaning it has picked up recently. "Outsource overseas" would be more precise, but then that's two words and we are always in a hurry.

In Play: Since the adjective is being used widely as a verb meaning "outsource overseas", we want you to be prepared for it: "US computer programmers are complaining that their jobs are being offshored to programmers in India, China, and Pakistan." Companies turn to offshoring as a means of reducing costs: "Our personnel manager, Gladys Friday, offshored all the jobs in our company except her own and those of top management."

Word History: Shore is the modern form of Old English skora "shore, beach". It apparently derives from a Proto-Indo-European word, (s)ker- "cut", with another of those Fickle Ss that come and go under mysterious circumstances. Apparently our ancestors associated shores and bank as things water cuts into. Since the PIE [k] became [h] in English, it also gives us shear and share. Score, in the sense of cutting a mark into something or adding points in a game, was borrowed from Old Norse. With a suffix [t] the same root emerged as English short; it came to Latin as curtus, without the S but with the same meaning.

Dr. Goodword,

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