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

If Measure 106 passes, low-income women insured by Oregon’s Medicaid program would pay out of pocket for the procedure. Gillian Flaccus, The Seattle Times, "Bid to ban state funds for abortions tests open Oregon laws," 30 Oct. 2018 This will include the drug’s list price but also some estimates on how much patients would pay out of pocket for the drug as well as what patient assistance is available to cover the costs. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Pharma’s new plan to put more info — but not drug list prices — in TV ads," 15 Oct. 2018 All this said, there may be a better way to get Priority Pass besides paying out of pocket, which is using... Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Ways to Get Airport Lounge Access for Every Type of Traveler," 21 Aug. 2018 Each year, Lisa pays out of pocket for his treatments and medication. Katie Parsons, OrlandoSentinel.com, "The costs of autism strap many families," 3 July 2018 But despite the potentially hefty price tag that patients would likely pay out of pocket, there’s no evidence that the therapy stops the progression of the disease or improves symptoms. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Under “right-to-try” law, therapy may go for $300K—with no proof it will work," 22 June 2018 Tanning can also require at least a portion of out of pocket expense. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "No one gets the short end in college athletics more than a cheerleader," 8 June 2018 Private clinics often charge hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for treatment that patients pay out of pocket. Moises Velasquez-manoff, WIRED, "Ketamine Stirs Up Hope—and Controversy—as a Depression Drug," 8 May 2018 In exchange, Amazon will give CPGs data about how well their product is performing within its category on Amazon, as well as some advertising on Amazon’s sites — stuff Amazon doesn’t have to spend out of pocket to offer. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Google spends $1 billion on a 52-acre office park in space-constrained Silicon Valley," 27 Nov. 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

24 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for out of pocket

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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