What does the word offing mean?

Usage examples for offing

  1. During the night a ship on fire in the offing lit up with great vividness the silent waste of waters, and as the flames leaped up the rigging, the sight was very grand. – Through Five Republics on Horseback by G. Whitfield Ray
  2. As we climbed to the top of a hill, and I looked back over the blue ocean, now shining brightly in the morning sun, I saw that the storm had ceased; and- I am certain my eyes did not deceive me- I saw in the offing the white canvas of a ship, which I felt sure must be the Drake, probably searching for those who were never to be found. – Old Jack by W.H.G. Kingston