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

Rosario pays about $1,800 out of pocket each month for her mother’s care — after subsidies, her mother’s Social Security payments and other supplements. Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "CPMC to shut down Alzheimer’s program; residents scramble for alternatives," 21 Jan. 2018 These patients pay 10 times more out of pocket than healthy patients and are forced to try cheaper or more rebate-rich drugs before getting medicines that work best. WSJ, "Drug Rebates Help Many, but Not Patients," 23 Sep. 2018 That means patients will have to cover the entire cost out of pocket. Sam Wood, Philly.com, "Pa. medical marijuana finally opens for business Saturday in Devon and Sellersville," 13 Feb. 2018 The sheer expense of IVF can’t be overlooked when discussing the rise of the West Coast fertility industry, which for the most part requires patients to pay out of pocket, says Lauri Berger de Brito. Jancee Dunn, Vogue, "How California Became the World’s Fertility Treatment Destination," 13 Mar. 2019 The treatment cost was about $45,000; Alison paid nearly $30,000 out of pocket. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "I Was One Of The Top Doctors In My Field. I Was Also An Opioid Addict.," 25 Feb. 2019 Many clinics, however, offer military discounts for service members who are paying out of pocket, as well as discounts on the medications needed for treatment. Jennifer Gerson, Marie Claire, "Health & Fitness," 1 Oct. 2018 The Health Department estimated Medicare beneficiaries would save $320 million this year, because how much patients pay out of pocket for drugs is calculated as a percentage of what Medicare pays. Melanie Evans, WSJ, "Medicare Can’t Cut Drug Subsidy Payments For Hospitals, Court Rules," 28 Dec. 2018 As a result, Mandy had to shell out more than $200 a month out of pocket — until, after a lengthy appeals process, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois finally agreed to pay up. German Lopez, Vox, "The simple idea that could help end America’s opioid epidemic," 26 Dec. 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

11 Jun 2019

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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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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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