≡ Menu

The “Out of Pocket” Idiom

Interesting facebook discussion about the meaning of the expression “out of pocket.”

The audio of the aforementioned wife’s response is here and embedded below:


You learn something every day. For years, maybe decades, I have been around people who use the phrase “out of pocket” to mean “I’m not available right now”.

I was unaware that this was a regional usage, or that there were other usages even. Urban dictionary says it means “paid from personal funds.” I had never heard this.

My yankee friends and I had a heated debate. They said it usually means something other than “unavailable” — like “I spent money” or something. Never heard it used like that.

So I asked my wife, who is usually a reliable indicator of how normal people talk and think, out of the blue: Hey, babe, have you heard people say “I’m out of pocket”? She pauses, suspecting a setup, but says, “yes.” I say “And what do you think that means, when they say ‘I am out of pocket’?”

She instantly says, “That they’re unavailable.”

Me: “Thank you.”




{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Bryan May 11, 2016, 6:22 pm

    Out-of-pocket is a widely used term in insurance but perhaps they write to people in different regions. Not sure if you consider someone from Kentucky “yankee” but I’ve never heard of it meaning unavailable.

Leave a Reply

© 2012-2024 StephanKinsella.com CC0 To the extent possible under law, Stephan Kinsella has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to material on this Site, unless indicated otherwise. In the event the CC0 license is unenforceable a  Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License is hereby granted.

-- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright