go out

Idioms & Phrases

go out

  1. Be extinguished, as in All the lights went out. [c. 1400]

  2. Die; also, faint. For example, I want to go out before I become senile, or At the sight of blood he went out like a light. The first usage dates from about 1700 and was at first put go out of the world. For the variant, see under out cold.

  3. Take part in social life outside the home, as in We go out a lot during the holiday season. This usage dates from the second half of the 1700s and gave rise to go out with someone, meaning "to date someone."

  4. Stop working, as in To show their support of the auto workers, the steel workers went out too. This expression is short for go out on strike. [Late 1800s]

  5. Become unfashionable, as in Bell-bottom pants went out in the 1970s but made a comeback in the 1990s. This usage is sometimes amplified to go out of fashion or go out of style, as in This kind of film has gone out of fashion, or These boots are going out of style. [Late 1400s]

  6. Cease to function as before. This sense appears in go out of print, said of a book that will no longer be printed. Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with go out.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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