from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. Without funds or assets: a traveler who was caught out of pocket.
  • adv. In a state of having experienced a loss, especially a financial one.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Lacking funds, or suffering a loss.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the spending of cash rather than using credit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. in a condition of having expended or lost more money than one has received.
  • n. See under Out, prep.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. calling for the spending of cash


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • He'd throw you and kill you or trample you to death, an 'I'd be just fifteen hundred dollars more out of pocket by the onery brute.

    Winona: A Tale of Negro Life in the South and Southwest

  • My only consolation is that when Cave and Thorne have arrived at a settlement with the Excise Office, I will be able to pay my debts and ensure that the Cousins James are not out of pocket when they buy me more things.

    Morgan’s Run


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  • Whether or not it makes sense, it's an interesting use of the phrase, don't you think? :-)

    June 25, 2007

  • That usage just doesn't make any sense! Although, to be fair, the original doesn't exactly make much sense either. The general meaning is a bit broad, but I don't see how it could mean unavailable.

    June 25, 2007

  • Slumry, I saw this phrase for the first time this weekend posted in a birding list I belong to. The poster mentioned being "out of pocket" for the summer. What a coincidence!

    I'd say coinkydink but I really dislike that word.... ;-)

    June 23, 2007

  • I like that image of the little people. . .

    June 19, 2007

  • Pretty funny, actually. I picture tiny little people jumping out of pockets and then scrambling back in to get their messages....

    Perhaps I need more sleep.

    June 19, 2007

  • Hmm. That's kinda weird.

    June 19, 2007

  • Exactly.

    June 19, 2007

  • Say what? You mean like, "I'm out of pocket until noon, but you can leave a message" or something?

    June 19, 2007

  • funny, I now hear this term being used to mean unavailable--you can't reach me.

    June 19, 2007