Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:34 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,930

Usage: How did "out of pocket" get its current meaning?


My understanding of the phrase "I'm out of pocket" is "Whatever I decide to do right now, I have to pay for with my personal funds, because my employer won't cover it."

In the last couple of years, I've noticed that people don't use it for that meaning but instead use "I'll be out of pocket" to mean "I'll be unavailable or unreachable."

I'm looking for an understanding of this phrase and this usage. Am I wrong about the original meaning of the phrase? When did the latter usage arise? How did it come to have that meaning?
  #2  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:37 AM
Mr Shine's Avatar
Mr Shine is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 1,940
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
In the last couple of years, I've noticed that people don't use it for that meaning but instead use "I'll be out of pocket" to mean "I'll be unavailable or unreachable."

This is not correct and anybody using it in this way would be an idiot.
  #3  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:39 AM
Ludovic is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: America's Wing
Posts: 29,446
I've heard it ever since 1999. Nowadays I rarely see or hear the full phrase but I see "OOP" quite often in the context of work. One guess is that if you use the abbreviation "OOO" for out of office it looks like you are trying to spell a word with your Cheerios.
  #4  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:45 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,994
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
My understanding of the phrase "I'm out of pocket" is "Whatever I decide to do right now, I have to pay for with my personal funds, because my employer won't cover it."

In the last couple of years, I've noticed that people don't use it for that meaning but instead use "I'll be out of pocket" to mean "I'll be unavailable or unreachable."

I'm looking for an understanding of this phrase and this usage. Am I wrong about the original meaning of the phrase? When did the latter usage arise? How did it come to have that meaning?
According to this thread (https://english.stackexchange.com/qu...cket-come-from), O Henry was one of the first to write it down, back in the early 1900s. They don't mention the origin, though.

Mr Shine, you're obviously incorrect, since it really is current usage and has been for at least 100 years.
  #5  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:49 AM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is offline
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 14,033
It may be a stretch, but I wonder if the "unavailable" use of the term has any relation to American football. When a quarterback is "in the pocket," he's setting up to pass the ball, and the offense's play is (more or less) proceeding as planned. If the defense forces the quarterback to scramble "out of the pocket," the play has started to break down, and he may not be able to pass as intended.
  #6  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:51 AM
Alley Dweller's Avatar
Alley Dweller is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 4,205
It's also a common phrase in the US health insurance industry: "Out of pocket maximum" represents the maximum amount in combined deductibles and co-insurance payments you'll have to make in a year for covered in-network services.

I've never heard that "out-of-pocket" is just limited to employer/employee expenses. A contractor might say "If I upgrade the materials, I'll be out-of-pocket for the extra cost." But I've never heard it to mean "I'll be unavailable or unreachable." That's probably some new corporate-speak thing that's trending.
  #7  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:52 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,540
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
In the last couple of years, I've noticed that people don't use it for that meaning but instead use "I'll be out of pocket" to mean "I'll be unavailable or unreachable."
Huh. I have never heard this usage of the term. Good to know in case I come across it. I wonder if it's regional/generational/etc.

And, yeah, first two things that came to mind were the football use of the term and the musical use (e.g. "playing in the pocket"), but I can't quite see how they would be related.
  #8  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:55 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,930
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
It's also a common phrase in the US health insurance industry: "Out of pocket maximum" represents the maximum amount in combined deductibles and co-insurance payments you'll have to make in a year for covered in-network services.

I've never heard that "out-of-pocket" is just limited to employer/employee expenses. A contractor might say "If I upgrade the materials, I'll be out-of-pocket for the extra cost." But I've never heard it to mean "I'll be unavailable or unreachable." That's probably some new corporate-speak thing that's trending.
Yes, I didn't mean to limit it to the employer scenario. It generally means "I'm responsible for the expenses."

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Huh. I have never heard this usage of the term. Good to know in case I come across it. I wonder if it's regional/generational/etc.

And, yeah, first two things that came to mind were the football use of the term and the musical use (e.g. "playing in the pocket"), but I can't quite see how they would be related.
I'm skeptical that the football and musical meanings are related, but I guess it's possible.
  #9  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:57 AM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is offline
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 14,033
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Huh. I have never heard this usage of the term. Good to know in case I come across it. I wonder if it's regional/generational/etc.
FWIW, since you and I live in the same city, I'd guess that I've heard it used in that way (though not particularly frequently) for at least the past decade or so. The context is always along the lines of "I'll be out of pocket for the rest of the week," and understood to mean, "I won't be in the office / I won't be reachable / I'll be busy."
  #10  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:01 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,540
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
FWIW, since you and I live in the same city, I'd guess that I've heard it used in that way (though not particularly frequently) for at least the past decade or so. The context is always along the lines of "I'll be out of pocket for the rest of the week," and understood to mean, "I won't be in the office / I won't be reachable / I'll be busy."
OK, so it's the people I hang around with. Is it more corporate speak, maybe? Or is it also used in regular casual conversation, too? I mean, by people who may not have a corporate type of background.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-07-2019 at 10:01 AM.
  #11  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:03 AM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is offline
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 14,033
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
OK, so it's the people I hang around with. Is it more corporate speak, maybe? Or is it also used in regular casual conversation, too? I mean, by people who may not have a corporate type of background.
I'm going to go with the "corporate speak" hypothesis, since I work in advertising, and I think that when I've heard it used, it's nearly always been at work.
  #12  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:03 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,930
I also started hearing it from corporate types, but it has spread to office work in general, it seems to me.
  #13  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:12 AM
Borborygmi's Avatar
Borborygmi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: the worst timeline
Posts: 957
FWIW: I've only been aware of the 'new' usage somewhat recently when our company started partnering with another company in the Midwest. In my limited experience it hasn't been used in the first person and is somewhat jealously invoked to refer to an employee who has broken the shackles of being reachable for the time-being.
  #14  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:25 AM
robardin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,694
I've only ever heard or read "out of pocket" to mean something related to expense accounting, never to mean "out of office/unavailable", where "pocket" doesn't have any context at all.

Very strange usage to carry over, am very surprised this usage is on the rise - is it a regionalism? The way "waiting on" to mean "waiting for" (awaiting a person or a dependency) originated in the American South(?) and spread around to my area in the Northeast in the past 10-15 years?
  #15  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:39 AM
Folacin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North of the River
Posts: 3,406
here is a discussion from 2011 - it seems it originated as a Southern regionalism (and also notes the early O Henry refererence), and is apparently spreading. I've heard it used in Kansas City (which is a semi-southern city), but couldn't say when I first noticed it (not a native but been here a long time - the meaning has always seemed obvious from context).
  #16  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:44 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,994
Here's another cite: https://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/w...out-of-pocket/

Here's the money quote:

Quote:
A primarily American meaning of "out of pocket," "to be unavailable," traces to a 1908 O. Henry story, the OED says: "Just now she is out of pocket. And I shall find her as soon as I can." The Dictionary of American Slang says it first appeared in the mid-1970s: "I'm out of pocket for a bit, but I'll get back at ya."
I also doubt it came from football, because to my ear, the usage would be "out of the pocket." I agree that that's not likely related to the musical usage, where playing in the pocket means, I believe, right on the beat.

I agree that it's mostly corporate speak where I hear it.
  #17  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:50 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,540
Oh, wow. That goes back way farther than I would have thought.
  #18  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:14 AM
ZipperJJ's Avatar
ZipperJJ is offline
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 25,067
Never heard of it in the "out of office" sense and I'm super surprised its origins are that old! Makes perfect sense to me in the financial sense - is some other entity paying for this or do I have to pull the money out of my pocket to pay?

Before I read RitterSport's post I would have thought maybe it's used in modern times to refer to people working from their phones (in their pockets) while out of the office.
  #19  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:19 AM
KneadToKnow is offline
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 25,706
I had always assumed the football connection, but RitterSport's point about that more likely developing as "out of the pocket" make sense.

I wonder if it's related conceptually to the idea of being in someone's pocket in the sense of being under their control or influence.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 02-07-2019 at 11:19 AM.
  #20  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:19 AM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is offline
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 14,033
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
I also doubt it came from football, because to my ear, the usage would be "out of the pocket."
Additionally, if it dates back to 1908 (and possibly before), that'd also likely disprove any connection to football, as the concept of the "pocket" for the passer almost undoubtedly came about later than that. The forward pass only became legal in American football at about the same time as the O. Henry writing.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 02-07-2019 at 11:20 AM.
  #21  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:26 AM
mhendo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 25,107
David Simon's acclaimed TV show The Wire used "out of pocket" in the OP's second sense quite a few times. It was generally used in regard to a witness or a suspect that they couldn't locate at the time. Along the lines of, "He's out of pocket, and we need to locate him."
  #22  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:03 PM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,540
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
David Simon's acclaimed TV show The Wire used "out of pocket" in the OP's second sense quite a few times. It was generally used in regard to a witness or a suspect that they couldn't locate at the time. Along the lines of, "He's out of pocket, and we need to locate him."
Damn. I've watched that series, and the phrase has somehow not registered with me.
  #23  
Old 02-07-2019, 07:00 PM
UDS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,598
The online OED records the "unavailable" sense, notes that it's a US usage, traces it back to the O. Henry cite from 1908, and suggests that it invokes "pocket" in the same sense as in phrases like "in his pocket" meaning under his control or influence, assured, guaranteed; and "to pocket something" meaning to keep something to oneself, to keep control of something.

So to say that someone is out of pocket in this sense is to say more than that they are not at work; it implies that they can't be reached or communicated with; that they are not subject to direction or control.
  #24  
Old 02-07-2019, 07:22 PM
mhendo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 25,107
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Damn. I've watched that series, and the phrase has somehow not registered with me.
You probably haven't watched it, oh, about ten times like I have.

Found a bunch of examples in the first two seasons alone:

Season 1, Episode 3
Daniels: Everyone else roll out?
Kima: You were upstairs and out of pocket, so I cut them loose.
Season 1, Episode 12
McNulty: All the work we did to get up on this fucking wire.
Freamon: You don't hit these guys the way that we did and expect them to stay in the pocket.

...

Trooper Reese (on phone):
Grandmother says this kid's been gone two days.
Daniels (to Carver): Wallace is out of pocket.
Season 2, Episode 11
Stringer (to Omar): Stinkum? I mean, you closed the book on that nigger your damn self. Avon, he out of pocket for the time being
Season 2, Episode 12
Daniels: We left the man we think is the number two for the operation on the street, hoping he'd lead us to number one.
Rawls: We have people on him?
Daniels: He's out of pocket at the moment.
  #25  
Old 02-07-2019, 08:38 PM
Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,186
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
Season 1, Episode 12
McNulty: All the work we did to get up on this fucking wire.
Freamon: You don't hit these guys the way that we did and expect them to stay in the pocket.
That seems to give a clue about how the usage may have originated, since this one looks pretty clearly like a snooker/pool metaphor
__________________
It is easier to fall than to climb ... letting go for the fall brings a wonderful feeling of ease and power
- Katherine Kerr Daggerspell

Last edited by Aspidistra; 02-07-2019 at 08:38 PM.
  #26  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:38 PM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,540
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
You probably haven't watched it, oh, about ten times like I have.

Found a bunch of examples in the first two seasons alone:

Season 1, Episode 3
Daniels: Everyone else roll out?
Kima: You were upstairs and out of pocket, so I cut them loose.
Season 1, Episode 12
McNulty: All the work we did to get up on this fucking wire.
Freamon: You don't hit these guys the way that we did and expect them to stay in the pocket.

...

Trooper Reese (on phone):
Grandmother says this kid's been gone two days.
Daniels (to Carver): Wallace is out of pocket.
Season 2, Episode 11
Stringer (to Omar): Stinkum? I mean, you closed the book on that nigger your damn self. Avon, he out of pocket for the time being
Season 2, Episode 12
Daniels: We left the man we think is the number two for the operation on the street, hoping he'd lead us to number one.
Rawls: We have people on him?
Daniels: He's out of pocket at the moment.
Hah! Must have just gone over my head as street talk and not made an impression, obviously.
  #27  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:42 PM
EdelweissPirate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Portland, OR USA
Posts: 325
If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t pick up on that phrase in The Wire either, though I watched it religiously. On top of that, I grew up about 20 miles outside of Baltimore and was paying a lot of attention to the accents and regionalisms. Oops.
  #28  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:53 PM
Mr Downtown is offline
Chicago Savant
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,401
I'm pretty sure I grew up hearing my dad use it to mean unavailable (Southwest Arkansas, 1960s-70s).
  #29  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:15 PM
Lord Feldon's Avatar
Lord Feldon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 6,222
Coincidentally, I just saw this in an email for the first time earlier today, and I assumed it had to be some kind of weird autocorrect or voice-to-text issue. I guess it's something people actually say.
  #30  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:39 PM
RhapsodyInBlue is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 213
I've worked for three Fortune 20 corporations over my career. Over the past 25 years it has become pretty standard to say someone is "out of pocket" to mean they are traveling on business.



"Out of pocket" implies the person has made some outlay of funds (airfare, hotel, meals, etc) for which they will be reimbursed when they submit their expense report. It's also used if the person is simply traveling across town because they will again submit an expense report for reimbursement for any expenses incurred - mileage, client meals, etc.



"Out of pocket" is generally not used to indicate the person is working from home. In that case they are "working remote".



When I was younger it used to bother me because it ought to mean the person is on the hook for paying their travel expense, but I got over it as there are so many worse abuses in corporate speak.
  #31  
Old 02-08-2019, 07:06 AM
senoy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,722
West Virginian and never heard it except in terms of financial arrangements.
  #32  
Old 02-08-2019, 08:39 AM
rbroome is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 3,279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Shine View Post
This is not correct and anybody using it in this way would be an idiot.
Damn, that means I and many of my co-workers have been idiots for years! I didn't know that. Thanks for the update.


For the OP, I have heard and used that phrase with my co-workers for at least the last 10 years. It just sounds good and efficiently gets the point across. I will be out of touch for a while and not part of the current activity that requires frequent communication. It means that the team I am working on where I give and receive frequent communications will have to do without me. Sometimes that message is received with considerable relief by my co-workers, sometimes they actually miss me. It depends.
  #33  
Old 02-08-2019, 08:42 AM
Mr Shine's Avatar
Mr Shine is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 1,940
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbroome View Post
Damn, that means I and many of my co-workers have been idiots for years! I didn't know that. Thanks for the update.
Glad to help
  #34  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:51 AM
Irishman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Denton, TX, USA
Posts: 12,438
I've used "out of pocket" like "I'll be out of pocket" to mean unavailable for as long as I can remember, and in fact the medical bill usage was a new one to me when I first heard it.

"Out of pocket" expense makes direct sense, so isn't hard to understand.

I don't know the origin of "out of pocket" as unavailable.
  #35  
Old 02-08-2019, 10:07 AM
The Stainless Steel Rat's Avatar
The Stainless Steel Rat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Close to the Saturn V
Posts: 10,428
Worked for the Government (US) for 34 years and heard it used both ways for many years. Definition depended on use; if 'out of pocket" was for something during a trip/TDY that the government wouldn't pay for, then one; if it meant you'd be away and out of touch for some time, then the other. All dependent on context.
  #36  
Old 02-08-2019, 10:17 AM
Novelty Bobble is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South East England
Posts: 8,282
UK perspective here.

I've never heard it used in an "unreachable" sense ever.

I would understand it as meaning one of two thing. Either I was financially down, i.e. I had to pay for something I didn't expect and so was now "out of pocket". Or that I have to cover the cost of something myself until a third party reimburses me, i.e. "out of pocket expenses"
__________________
I'm saving this space for the first good insult hurled my way
  #37  
Old 02-08-2019, 11:07 AM
CurtC is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,741
I started hearing it in the early 1980s. I remember because I remember who I first heard it from. I had the impression at the time that she just misspoke, that she was telling me someone was out... of..., and while trying to finish the phrase, "pocket" blurted out because that word sometimes followed the previous two.

But then I heard it from her more, and from others, who I then considered to be idiots about language. Nowadays it's so common that I figure it could be considered correct, that people have heard the phrase with the new meaning so much that they're not even familiar with the old meaning. Bugs the shit out of me, but I realize that prescriptivism is futile.
  #38  
Old 02-08-2019, 11:23 AM
Colophon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 13,520
In the UK I have never heard it to mean "unavailable or unreachable". But also it seems to me the financial meaning has a slightly different sense over here: "out of pocket" just means that you have lost money. Eg if you sold something on eBay and the buyer claims it never arrived and claims their money back, you would say "I'm £30 out of pocket", or "That's left me out of pocket".

We do also use the phrase "out-of-pocket expenses", though, to mean your own money spent, which might be claimed back from an employer, say.

.... and I just realised Novelty Bobble said essentially exactly the same thing.

Last edited by Colophon; 02-08-2019 at 11:24 AM.
  #39  
Old 02-08-2019, 02:09 PM
MikeF is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,544
We used it all the time in the narcotics investigation world. Specifically, when you couldn't reach the informant or didn't know his whereabouts. That said, I would never use the term to refer to myself, only someone else that you normally had some control over.
  #40  
Old 02-08-2019, 02:15 PM
Atamasama's Avatar
Atamasama is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,954
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
UK perspective here.

I've never heard it used in an "unreachable" sense ever.

I would understand it as meaning one of two thing. Either I was financially down, i.e. I had to pay for something I didn't expect and so was now "out of pocket". Or that I have to cover the cost of something myself until a third party reimburses me, i.e. "out of pocket expenses"
Exactly the same for me. Iím from the Pacific Northwest part of the USA, and briefly lived in Kansas and also for a couple of years on the island of Guam. It seems to be a regional thing from parts of the South to use it as slang for ďunavailableĒ.

My (completely speculative) assumption is that it refers to something unavailable to you because you donít have it with you; not in your pocket. But again, Iíve never in my life heard this phrase used in that sense before this thread, and Iíve been a professional for over 20 years working in small business, big business, and government. Itís not a common usage in the professional world, but perhaps in a certain field or region.
  #41  
Old 02-08-2019, 02:34 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,994
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Exactly the same for me. Iím from the Pacific Northwest part of the USA, and briefly lived in Kansas and also for a couple of years on the island of Guam. It seems to be a regional thing from parts of the South to use it as slang for ďunavailableĒ.

My (completely speculative) assumption is that it refers to something unavailable to you because you donít have it with you; not in your pocket. But again, Iíve never in my life heard this phrase used in that sense before this thread, and Iíve been a professional for over 20 years working in small business, big business, and government. Itís not a common usage in the professional world, but perhaps in a certain field or region.
It's extremely common in the NY area, at least in the banking world.
  #42  
Old 02-08-2019, 03:37 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,930
Speculating on the growing popularity of this usage -- I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that American working culture highly discourages the idea of ever being off the clock. So, people don't actually want to say "I'll be unavailable" in such stark terms. They use a metaphor like "out of pocket" just so they don't have to say the literal words, because it feels like you're not taking work seriously enough if you ever dare not to be available.
  #43  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:35 PM
elfkin477 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 22,539
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Huh. I have never heard this usage of the term. Good to know in case I come across it. I wonder if it's regional/generational/etc.
I've heard it used in exactly the sense the OP notes in both a US and a British movie within the past year (I want to say the US movie was The Office Christmas Party, and whatever the British movie was, it had Martin Freeman in it with him using the phrase...maybe Ghost Stories?). It doesn't seem generational, either, because it's being used by both by a guy who is middle aged, and in one in their 20-30s.
  #44  
Old 02-09-2019, 01:58 AM
Novelty Bobble is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South East England
Posts: 8,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
I've heard it used in exactly the sense the OP notes in both a US and a British movie within the past year (I want to say the US movie was The Office Christmas Party, and whatever the British movie was, it had Martin Freeman in it with him using the phrase...maybe Ghost Stories?). It doesn't seem generational, either, because it's being used by both by a guy who is middle aged, and in one in their 20-30s.
Just to clarify, the OP actually notes both usages, are you saying that you've heard the "unreachable" form in a British movie? because that would seem deliberately obtuse to me.
__________________
I'm saving this space for the first good insult hurled my way
  #45  
Old 02-11-2019, 01:16 PM
Roderick Femm's Avatar
Roderick Femm is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On the cusp, also in SF
Posts: 6,906
This is one of those coincidences that happen. I had never heard the second meaning (not available, out of the office) until I read this thread. Later that very same day, I saw the phrase used, unmistakably with that meaning, in a book that I had already started reading. So far, it's the only time in that book that the phrase has been used.

I dunno. It struck me.
  #46  
Old 02-11-2019, 01:42 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,994
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
This is one of those coincidences that happen. I had never heard the second meaning (not available, out of the office) until I read this thread. Later that very same day, I saw the phrase used, unmistakably with that meaning, in a book that I had already started reading. So far, it's the only time in that book that the phrase has been used.

I dunno. It struck me.
More likely, that was an example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion:

https://www.damninteresting.com/the-...of-phenomenon/

Basically, you notice things that you've been recently introduced to.

(Later that day...the frequency illusion! I had never heard of that before, and it came up twice today!)
  #47  
Old 02-11-2019, 02:59 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,994
In researching the above answer, I also came across this Wiki page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

Then, no fooling, when looking through my Twitter feed later, I see that someone I follow wrote:

"Wikipedia's List of Cognitive Biases is one of the Top 10 most essential pages on the internet"

and linked to that page. Whoa! It's a frequency illusion about pages that discuss frequency illusions. We're through the looking glass here.
  #48  
Old 02-11-2019, 05:29 PM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,540
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
More likely, that was an example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion:
Yep. Good phrase/concept to be aware of. That said, hasn't happened for me with this particular usage yet, but it's happened to me sooooo many times in the past with recently discovered definitons, words, concepts, etc.
  #49  
Old 02-11-2019, 06:12 PM
Roderick Femm's Avatar
Roderick Femm is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On the cusp, also in SF
Posts: 6,906
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
More likely, that was an example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion:

https://www.damninteresting.com/the-...of-phenomenon/

Basically, you notice things that you've been recently introduced to.

(Later that day...the frequency illusion! I had never heard of that before, and it came up twice today!)
I thought about that (not those exact terms, but in that ballpark) and I also considered whether, had I run across the use of this common phrase with an obvious meaning with which I was not familiar, I would have questioned it. I think I would have noticed it. So I'm not entirely abandoning my coincidence theory, but I respect the alternative. Coincidences do actually happen, if not as often as we usually think.
  #50  
Old 02-12-2019, 01:44 PM
Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 81,815
For most of my life I'd only heard "out of pocket" used to mean you have to pay for something yourself, unable to rely on insurance or any other third-party source of funds.

Only in the past few years have I heard it used, by corporate types and by my sister (who's always quick to pick up on new or new-ish slang), to mean they'll be unreachable because they're on vacation, a long flight or in a remote area.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:26 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017