He fell out

Abedul_2f

Senior Member
Español, Spain
Hello,

Could you tell me what "fell out" means in this context? It doesn't have the meaning of "falling down", does it?

Seville keeps the tunnels lively with his humor. Once while he was panhandling in Grand Central Station a commuter gave him a bag containing a loaf of bread and a pound of baloney. He thanked the man and then, after looking into the bag, shouted out after him, “Pardon me, sir, would you happen to have some Grey Poupon?”

Commuters cracked up with laughter, not least the donor. “He fell out,” Seville remembers. “The man had a ball all the way out of the station. I loved doing it. That’s what it’s all about.” […].

Thank you very much in advance!
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello Abedul. Apparently in US slang fall out means 'be overcome with laughter'.

    (The equivalent in UK slang is fall about.)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It's marked in my Slang Dictionary (Cassell's) as [1940s>] so it might be a bit obsolete, Teksch. I wonder how old Abedul's text is ...
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The expression "fall out laughing" is common in AE. You can find many examples in blogs and forums, and other places where people use colloquial speech. The longer version is familiar to me; I would understand the abbreviated version easily because of the context.

    However, the abbreviated version may be as common. It is more difficult to use an internet search to determine its frequency because you can fall out of so many things. More over, there is to fall out with someone meaning to have a disagreement with them.

    I'm not sure why some AE speakers would have heard this and others not. It is probably not a regional difference, as tekcsh and I are in the same part of the country. Maybe it has to do with age, and how and with whom we spend out time.

    Note: "fall out" also means "to faint, pass out". I believe that is the basis of "fall out laughing".
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It's marked in my Slang Dictionary (Cassell's) as [1940s>] so it might be a bit obsolete, Teksch. I wonder how old Abedul's text is ...
    Mr Google tells me that Abedul's source is a 1993 book called The Mole People: text here, related Wiki article here.
     

    teksch

    Senior Member
    English - American
    The expression "fall out laughing" is common in AE. You can find many examples in blogs and forums, and other places where people use colloquial speech. The longer version is familiar to me; I would understand the abbreviated version easily because of the context.

    However, the abbreviated version may be as common. It is more difficult to use an internet search to determine its frequency because you can fall out of so many things. More over, there is to fall out with someone meaning to have a disagreement with them.

    I'm not sure why some AE speakers would have heard this and others not. It is probably not a regional difference, as tekcsh and I are in the same part of the country. Maybe it has to do with age, and how and with whom we spend out time.

    Note: "fall out" also means "to faint, pass out". I believe that is the basis of "fall out laughing".
    How interesting. I agree that to fall out means to have a disagreement with someone and I am familiar with the military command to fall out - to disband a formation. I have even heard to fall over with laughter. This meaning is new to me. I looked at the text of the Mole book and could not find the term there - might have missed it somehow. Well...this is how the language evolves - in bits and starts.:)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Re: fall out to mean "faint".

    I went to look for sources, and found that the use may be more narrowly dialectical than I thought. Dictionary of American Regional English (1991) has 'fall out' in the sense we are discussing, labeled "scattered, but especially South, especially frequent among Black speakers.

    It also has: "to faint, loose consciousness; especially in the South and southern middle, especially frequent among Black speakers." I grew up with in rural California, and some of the people around me were from Oklahoma and Arkansas. It seems to me that they used "fall out" with this meaning, but then, I wasn't taking notes.
     

    teksch

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Re: fall out to mean "faint".

    I went to look for sources, and found that the use may be more narrowly dialectical than I thought. Dictionary of American Regional English (1991) has 'fall out' in the sense we are discussing, labeled "scattered, but especially South, especially frequent among Black speakers.

    It also has: "to faint, loose consciousness; especially in the South and southern middle, especially frequent among Black speakers." I grew up with in rural California, and some of the people around me were from Oklahoma and Arkansas. It seems to me that they used "fall out" with this meaning, but then, I wasn't taking notes.
    This, as Alice pointed out, is getting curiouser and curiouser. I grew up in Oregon around people from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Mostly whites, these people were called Okies or Arkies. While I heard many strange twists on the language, I never heard this one. I guess I wasn’t taking notes either.
     
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