Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you hear people use the word “out” in conversation all the time?

Does this feel a bit confusing because it seems to have multiple uses?

Do you want to know how to use the word “out” effectively in English?

We’re going to look at the multiple uses for this word and how it can be used in a variety of phrases.

It is especially useful when we talk about doing something different or something that is not typical.

Today we have a listener question about this word and how to use it:

Dear Lindsay, Michelle, and Jessica,

My name is Yorleny Acevedo from Costa Rica, and I have been listened you everyday for a year.

I would like to know how to use the word “out“ (example send out). I hear this all the time, and I’m not really sure how to use it or what it means in this way.

Thank you for your help!

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A Common Word With Multiple Uses

This is a great question because this word is used ALL the time–so what does it mean?

Yes it’s the opposite of in–but it is used in so many more ways than that.

It basically means away from something, whether away from the inside or something else.

So what is “send out” as referenced in the example ?

It is basically to send something away–literally or metaphorically.

“I need to send out my thank you notes.” This means that you are sending them away.

A Versatile Word In Conversation

This one word has so many different uses, and that’s what makes it powerful.

It can be helpful to understand the different uses and try practicing them in conversation.

What are some other phrases that use the word “out”?

  • Stand out: This means to be noticeable or different. You may stand out from the crowd or be the one person that is noticed. You may often want that type of reaction, and it isn’t always a bad thing if it means being unique. “She has blue hair so she really stands out in the crowd.”
  • Out of it: This means that you are not feeling like your normal self or that something just feels unusual. You may feel sick, confused, disoriented, tired, or foggy. It’s an unusual feeling than you normally are, and therefore it’s out of the norm for you. “Ugh I can’t remember the story, I’m so out of it today for some reason.”
  • Outsmart: This means to beat someone at something not physically but mentally. You are essentially going out and away from what their intelligence is. You beat them at their own game using your brain and your intelligence.
  • Go out on a limb: This means to do something risky in nature. It could be guessing something or doing something that’s not easy or a sure thing. It essentially means to go away from safety, which basically means the same thing. You are putting yourself out there in an uncertain way. “‘I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the answer is D-102.”

This is such a versatile word and now you see the many different phrases to use it in.

It can be fun to try using this word and these phrases in conversation in a conversation especially when you are talking about something that is different and out of the ordinary.


The word “out” is extremely dynamic!

You can make guesses about what words and phrases mean by the meaning of out–it can be literal or metaphorical in its usage.

Try finding some new phrases with the word out and try to guess their meaning now!

This is a great word to use in conversation and it can be a really great way of connecting in English with native speakers so give it a try the next time you’re in a conversation.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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