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Out and out

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  • The idiom out and out means (1) thoroughly, completely, or openly; and (2) thorough, complete, or open. As an adverb, it goes back several hundreds of years—appearing, for instance, in a poem by Chaucer (“For out and out he is the worthiest”)—and its meaning has remained more or less unchanged over the centuries. The earliest examples of its use as an adjective are from the early 19th century.

    As a phrasal adjective, out and out is hyphenated (out-and-out) when it precedes what it modifies (e.g., an out-and-out disaster). The hyphens are unnecessary when out and out functions adverbially.

    Examples

    As an adverb

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    The Sox need someone to out and out dominate the opposition. [Boston Globe]

    We shall certainly resist out and out any attempt for an Army and Navy being set up in Ireland. [Irish Times]

    THQ out and out invents a new way to use the tried and true. [Toronto Star]

    As an adjective

    And that kind of lending, plus out-and-out piracy, are both already fairly well priced-in. [Wired]

    There are not many out-and-out Thatcherites in the present Government. [Independent]

    What napping lacks in terms of out-and-out cardio health, it more than compensates for. [New Zealand Herald]

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