OUT OF the house / OUT OF the box [opposite meanings?]

goldencypress

Senior Member
India - Malayalam
He came OUT OF the house means he came FROM INSIDE the house.


Five out ten mean five from the ten


Think OUT OF the box means to think OUTSIDE (of) the box


Isn’t there an anomaly there? OUT OF having diametrically opposite meanings?
 
  • dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    He came OUT OF the house means he came FROM INSIDE the house.


    Five out ten mean five from the ten


    Think OUT OF the box means to think OUTSIDE (of) the box


    Isn’t there an anomaly there? OUT OF having diametrically opposite meanings?
    Out of can mean different things as your list shows. Also, you don't think out of the box but outside the box.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    He came OUT OF the house means he came FROM INSIDE the house.
    It means he came outside.

    Think OUT OF the box means to think OUTSIDE (of) the box.
    We don't say "think out of the box"; we say: Think outside the box.

    There is no conflict between the two.


    Five out ten mean five from the ten
    I've no idea what "five out ten" means; I've never heard such an expression.
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Some people do say "think out of the box" to mean "think outside the box." (More say "outside," as Ngrams show.) Both mean to not be constrained by the boundaries of the figurative box.

    "Five out of ten dentists recommend brand X" depends on nearly the same sense of "out of." From our dictionary:

    from within or among: Take the jokers out of the pack of cards.

    Take five (particular) dentists out of (an average) ten, and you'll find that they make this recommendation. They are not constrained by the opinions of the other five.
     
    Last edited:

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    We don't say "think out of the box"; we say: Think outside the box.
    I've often heard (and I sometimes say) "think out of the box". It seems to be more common in BrE than in AmE.
    Some people do say "think out of the box" to mean "think outside the box." (More say "outside," as Ngrams show.) Both mean to not be constrained by the boundaries of the figurative box.
    Rerunning the ngrams for US and GB sources separately shows "think outside the box" being about three times as frequent as "think out of the box" in US sources, but only about 40% more frequent in GB sources.

    Isn’t there an anomaly there? OUT OF having diametrically opposite meanings?
    It's not an anomaly. There are expressions where "out of" refers to movement (from inside to outside), and others where it refers to location (outside).

    "He came out of the house" is an example of the first usage. "He is out of the office" is an example of the second (and similarly for "He's out of the country", "This area is out of bounds", "Ring the bell for service out of opening hours", etc).

    For me, "think out of the box" is essentially a metaphorical example of the second usage (out of the box = outside the box) — though I suppose there might be a suggestion of 'movement': your thinking is constrained if you're in the box, but unhampered if you then 'move' out of the box.

    Ws
     

    goldencypress

    Senior Member
    India - Malayalam
    It means he came outside.


    We don't say "think out of the box"; we say: Think outside the box.

    There is no conflict between the two.



    I've no idea what "five out ten" means; I've never heard such an expression.
    I'm sorry, I mean five out OF ten
     
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