out of pocket


Definition of out of pocket

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : from cash on hand : with one's own money rather than with money from another source (such as an insurance company) With so many people willing to pay out of pocket most insurance companies do not pay for the procedure, because they regard it as "cosmetic" …— Kenneth Chang
2 chiefly British
a : in the position of having lost money On Oct. 7, the government suddenly pulled the plug on Railtrack PLC, the privatized owner of Britain's railway infrastructure, leaving the company's 250,000 shareholders out of pocket.— Kerry Capell
b : out of funds : without money My wife and I are already consumers of Straus's organic yogurt, butter, cream and ice cream, although I admit when I am feeling out of pocket I opt for a slightly cheaper competitor.— Larry Gallagher


out-of-pock·​et | \ ˌau̇t-ə(v)-ˈpä-kət How to pronounce out-of-pocket (audio) \

Definition of out-of-pocket (Entry 2 of 2)

: requiring an outlay of cash out-of-pocket expenses

Examples of out of pocket in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Since Medicare won’t pay for health care outside the United States, the couple have had to pay for all of Bill’s medical expenses out of pocket, including one procedure that cost almost $2,000. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "After 7 months stranded in Caribbean, elderly Dallas-area couple have fingers crossed for return flight home," 6 Oct. 2020 The federal government is picking up the tab for the president's care, but many sick individuals pay a significant portion of their medical costs out of pocket. USA Today, "Coronavirus pandemic highlights President Trump's broken health care promises," 27 Oct. 2020 While individual employees like Crabbe are paying out of pocket for an office that isn’t at home, some companies are also opting to give up their leases in favor of a flexible model in a coworking space. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, "With offices closed, WeWork and other coworking spaces jump on market opportunity," 24 Oct. 2020 But in the first half, Baker threw effectively from the pocket versus zone defense and continued being deadly out of pocket. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "What changed with Baker Mayfield in the second half versus Indianapolis? How will it affect his performance in Pittsburgh? - Film Review," 17 Oct. 2020 Procedures are costly out of pocket, with breast reduction or enhancement costing around $10,000 and genital and facial surgery tens of thousands more. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, "With few specialists nationwide, Baltimore is becoming a destination for transgender surgeries," 15 Oct. 2020 Brittany Provinzano, who evacuated Boulder Creek with her boyfriend and 12-year-old son, paid nearly $1,600 out of pocket at two hotels before learning about the program. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "Santa Cruz County lost almost 1,000 homes to the CZU fires. Its housing crisis is now worse than ever," 1 Oct. 2020 In medical markets where patients pay out of pocket, buyers always know the price in advance of purchases, and price and quality competition is normal. Marie Fishpaw, National Review, "What Trump Has Done to Change the Health Care System and How That Has Helped Battle COVID-19," 18 Oct. 2020 This landmark piece of legislation will help close a critical gap in the way mental health care is covered by insurers, one that often forces families to pay out of pocket for lifesaving care. Darrell Steinberg, STAT, "New California law should serve as a national model for mental health care reform," 14 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'out of pocket.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of out of pocket


1679, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1885, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about out of pocket

Time Traveler for out of pocket

Time Traveler

The first known use of out of pocket was in 1679

See more words from the same year

Statistics for out of pocket

Last Updated

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Out of pocket.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/out%20of%20pocket. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for out of pocket


How to pronounce out-of-pocket (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of out-of-pocket

: paid for with your own money rather than with money from another source (such as the company you work for or an insurance company)



Legal Definition of out-of-pocket

: requiring an outlay of cash out-of-pocket expenses

More from Merriam-Webster on out of pocket

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for out of pocket

Comments on out of pocket

What made you want to look up out of pocket? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!