Date: Fri, 10 May 1996 09:39:53 -0600
From: Joan Houston Hall jdhall[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Subject: Re: out-of-pocket
DARE will have an entry for "out of (the) pocket" in volume IV (at "pocket").
It's labelled "chiefly Sth, S Midl" and defined 'Unavailable, absent, out of
place.' We have quite a few contemporary examples, but nothing earlier than
the late 1960s. So if anyone can come up with an earlier citation, or even
a recollection of the use of the phrase before that, I'd like to see it.
This usually refers to people rather than things, occurring in contexts such
as "I called you at home yesterday, but you were out of pocket." "I'm out
of the pocket for a bit, but will get back at ya." "I'll be out of pocket
for a few days, but you can leave a message on my machine."