A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Out of the closet

see Skeleton in the cupboard

Out of the equation

An equation in its mathematical sense, where two sets of values are equal, dates from the 1500s. Equation in its looser sense of a situation or set of...

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Out of the frying pan into fire

This is an ancient proverb meaning that one disastrous course of action is often followed by another. Its first appearance is in Latin in the work of...

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Out of the loop

see In/out of the loop

Out of the mouths of babes

The context of this saying is usually to record unexpected and surprising wisdom from the young. The source is the Bible, Psalms, 8:2, “Out of the mou...

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Out of the question

In the sense of not pertinent and therefore not to be considered, dates from the late 17th/early 18th century.

Out of the screws

Out of the screws or sometimes on the screws applies to any sport where a bat or club hits the ball dead centre on the so-called ‘sweet spot’ of the b...

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Out of the top drawer

see Top drawer

Out of the woods

To be out of the woods means to be safe or in the clear and is frequently used in the negative, i.e. ‘not out of the woods’ meaning still in danger or...

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Out of this world

Describes something so fantastic or sensational that it might come from another world altogether; an American expression dates from the 1930s.

Out of true

A phrase that means not correctly aligned, first cited from the early 20th century.

Out of/from the ark

Out of or from the ark are phrases that mean very old or very old-fashioned and are hyperboles that date from the late 18th/early 19th century, with t...

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Out on a limb

In a risky and isolated position, American expression dates from the late 19th century, presumably alludes to tree climbing.

Out to lunch

Since the 1960s is American slang for not paying attention or not attending to the task at hand, from the allusion to taking long lunches off work.


In the sense of completely, totally, thoroughly and is also used as an adjective in the sense of complete or utter, as in an ‘out-and-out’ scoundrel....

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