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out of bounds

1. In sports, outside of an established boundary within which normal play is allowed. The referee determined that the wide receiver was out of bounds when he caught the ball.
2. Outside of permissible exploration or traversal. As kids, we were always told that the quarry at the edge of town was out of bounds.
3. Not open to discussion, commentary, or criticism. The interviewer wanted to ask about the author's family, but was told beforehand that it was out of bounds.
4. Contrary to or in violation of acceptable rules, conventions, or standards. I thought Tom's comments were totally out of bounds for a dinner discussion, but I didn't feel it was my place to chide him. What she did was definitely out of bounds, but she apologized to me the next day.
See also: bound, of, out


1. Lit. outside the boundaries of the playing area. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; go ~.) The ball went out-of-bounds just at the end of the game. The whistle blew when Juan went out-of-bounds.
2. and *off-limits Fig. forbidden. (*Typically: be ~.) This area is off-limits. You can't go in there. Don't go there. It's out-of-bounds. That kind of behavior is off-limits. Stop it!
References in periodicals archive ?
This poll result suggests that President Bush's proposals this week to end bans on drilling for oil in areas held as off-limits and for opening up leases for oil shale production in federal lands may be generally in sync with majority American public opinion.
February 19: Train enters off-limits "possession" at BLETCHLEY, Bucks, without authority.
When you take everything you like and put it off-limits, it's harder to stick with the diet," says Field.
Welch, in hyping the program to fellow Southern Baptist preachers, promised that attendees would visit Fort Bragg, spend the night at the facility, see areas that are normally off-limits to civilians and spend "informal time" with Boykin.
However, after the announcement, Boone & Crockett learned that Malzac's party had violated Alaska law while operating two "swamp buggies" in areas off-limits to motor vehicles.
1763: After the French and Indian War, Britain declares land west of the Appalachians off-limits to colonists.
With an off-limits guy, you get the adrenaline rush of a major crush without having to deal with the responsibilities of, gulp, dating.
The panel, made up of justice, law, science, and counter-intelligence officials, will determine, on a case-by-case basis, the science and technology subjects (such as nuclear engineering) that should be off-limits to certain foreign students.
Authorities on Indonesia's riot-torn eastern islands of Maluku have extended measures to put the islands off-limits to foreigners, including journalists, an Indonesian government official said Friday.
Third in Asaro's Skolian Empire series (following Primary Inversion and Catch the Lightning), The Last Hawk is focused on the adventures of Kelric, a fighter pilot (and heir to the throne) who crash lands on Coba-a planet that is off-limits.
The Japanese government on Wednesday eased the off-limits travel advisory for Pakistan's border area with Afghanistan for the first time since the Sept.
A total of 11,079 acres were placed totally off-limits to cattle.
That's over 40 million acres of land already off-limits.
She also says that the federal government should compensate for the growing pace of development by placing more public lands off-limits to logging, oil and gas exploration.
In an off-limits environment, I know that when I make a decision, it is final, not always subject to second-guessing or being overturned.