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 \

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

The consumers who will benefit most are those who take prescription drugs regularly and pay a lot for their medicines out of pocket, or before insurance coverage starts. Tom Murphy, USA TODAY, "Prescription drug costs: Insurers look to pass price breaks straight to the consumer," 14 Apr. 2018 Bonnie Castillo, Executive Director of California Nurses Association California’s primary offered real hope for millions of our neighbors who face crushing medical debt or who forgo needed care due to skyrocketing out of pocket health costs. Amy Chance, sacbee, "California Influencers: What did we learn from the June primary election, and why?," 11 June 2018 By reducing or eliminating beneficiaries’ out of pocket costs, Trump’s plan will only make this problem worse. Charles M. Silver And David A. Hyman, STAT, "Why does Wall Street love Trump’s ineffective drug-price plan?," 14 May 2018 But the arm implant has to be removed after three years, which can cost up to $300 out of pocket, according to Planned Parenthood. refinery29.com, "Rushing To Get An IUD? Don't Forget This Important Factor," 11 July 2018 Vets also have to pay for it out of pocket, even in states like California where medical marijuana has been legal for more than two decades. Jen Christensen, CNN, "Veterans' grass-roots movement shares health benefits of marijuana," 28 Apr. 2018 My out of pocket was $30 for anesthesiology, my standard co-pay (before the Affordable Care Act). Jeanne Pinder, Philly.com, "How much does a colonoscopy cost?," 20 Feb. 2018 The repercussions of that company’s demise are still being felt; its myriad subcontractors are thought to be £2bn ($2.6bn) out of pocket. The Economist, "Britain’s outsourcing model, copied around the world, is in trouble," 28 June 2018 Jose’s last round of chemo cost more than $200,000 out of pocket. Michael Mcknight, SI.com, "In Rematch Against Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz Finds Motivation in Father's Cancer Fight," 7 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of out of pocket


1679, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1885, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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The first known use of out of pocket was in 1679

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More Definitions for out of pocket



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

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