Out and out?

中国日报网 2015-01-16 13:34



Out and out?Reader question:

Please explain “out and out” in this: Any suggestion that she’s taken money from casinos is “an out-and-out lie”.

My comments:

She has not take money from casinos. To say that she has is a complete lie.

“Out and out” is a British slang that means thorough and complete. Most dictionaries say it’s thorough and complete alright but do not explain why. Further investigation, however, leads us to its interesting origin. According to Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (E. Cobham Brewer, 1894), “out and out” grew out of the word utter, or the Anglo-Saxon útaerre in old English.

So, you may just as well remember “out and out” as “utter and utter”. By utter, of course, we mean thorough and complete, as we say utter rubbish, utter fool, utter failure and what an utter waste of time, etc.

Speaking of time, let’s quit quibbling and move swiftly to reading media examples:

1. Fox News Channel contributor Brit Hume weighed in with his thoughts on the major themes of President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address. Hume said that Obama’s speech should “put to rest” the notion spread by some of the president’s supporters that he is a moderate. “He’s an out and out liberal,” Hume said. He went on to predict that Obama’s speech heralds a new era of contentiousness in Washington that some hoped would abate in the president’s second term.

“I think we had a clarifying moment today in that the president’s speech served a real purpose,” Hume began. “It should put to rest for all time the idea that Barack Obama really is a moderate.

“Barack Obama is a liberal,” Hume continued. “I don’t think he’s a radical, but he is an out and out liberal. And now, newly reelected, he intends to pursue the course of that liberalism.”

- Fox’s Brit Hume: Obama’s Speech Confirms That He Is An ‘Out And Out Liberal,’ Not A Moderate, MediaITE.com, January 21, 2013.

2. The Premier League is to bring legal action against 100 pubs it believes are showing matches illegally on foreign satellite channels.

The league has used a private investigation firm to visit almost 4000 pubs across England and Wales in the past four months.

Dan Johnson, from the Premier League, told BBC Radio 5 live’s Breakfast that the practice was “out and out theft”.

However pub owner Daniel, who admits to using the channels, told the programme he could not afford show the matches otherwise.

- Premier League clamps down on illegal pub screenings, BBC.com, January 24, 2014.

3. Gerry Adams has apologised for using an “offensive” term at a public meeting, but said he was referring to “bigots”, and not all unionists.

The Sinn Féin leader used the phrase “break these bastards” in answering a question at the County Fermanagh event.

He told the BBC’s Talkback programme he was “sorry for using the b word” and acknowledged it would cause offence.

He also said he partly regretted using a “Trojan horse” analogy when referring to Sinn Féin’s equality strategy.

Mr Adams accepted a suggestion that he had made a “political gaffe” and added “we all make mistakes”.


Mr Adams was asked repeatedly who he had in mind when he referred to bigots.

The Sinn Féin leader replied: “I’m using the broad brush to describe that cohort who on the one hand, are out-and-out bigots, and there’s nothing worse than an educated bigot.”

- Gerry Adams apologises for using ‘offensive’ language, BBC.com, November 25, 2014.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)


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