A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Out for the count

Utterly defeated, unconscious and incapacitated, dates from the 1920s and derives from boxing where a defeated boxer has been ‘counted out’ for failin...

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Out in the sticks

see Sticks

Out of Africa

see Always something new out of Africa

Out of bounds

In the sense of forbidden or beyond limits of accepted standards, or in sporting parlance, beyond accepted areas of play, dates from the mid-19th cent...

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Out of kilter

Out of alignment or out of proper order dates from the late 16th/early 17th century and is of unknown origin. The OED lists kilter as a word meaning g...

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Out of left field

see Left field

Out of line

Improper, not in accordance with accepted norms and dates in this figurative sense from the late 18th century. It derives from the earlier military se...

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Out of one’s skin

see Jump out of one’s skin and Play out of one’s skin

Out of one’s wits

Wits is an old English collective noun for mind or mental faculties. Out of one’s wits, therefore, is to be out of one’s mind, hence scared or frighte...

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Out of pocket

To be out of pocket means to have lost or wasted money in some enterprise or other and dates from the late 1600s. Out-of-pocket expenses refer to expe...

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Out of sight, out of mind

An old English proverb that maintains there is often a reduced importance to whatever is not constantly brought to one’s attention. It dates from at l...

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Out of sorts

To be out of sorts is to be unwell or under the weather. Some sources maintain it comes from the world of printing during the 1600s when sorts meant t...

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Out of the (starting) blocks

see Quick/fast out of the (starting) blocks

Out of the ballpark

see Ballpark

Out of the box

This expression describes something that is brand new, off the shelf, with reference to the packaging or box in which the merchandise was bought. Its...

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