This paper presents a detailed, analytical review of two prominent accounts of off-record indirect speech – Brown and Levinson's Politeness Theory (1978/1987) and Pinker and colleagues' Strategic Speaker approach (Pinker 2007; Pinker et al. 2008; Lee and Pinker 2010). We begin by outlining both accounts, aiming to disentangle the theories by exploring the key theoretical features of each account, highlighting the similarities and differences between them, and reflecting on the scope and limitations of each. We continue by examining two additional motivations for off-record speech – immediacy and intimacy – with the goal of presenting a more comprehensive view of the phenomenon of off-record indirectness. We conclude the paper with theoretical questions that have arisen from our discussion to date and suggestions for empirical research on the topic.