Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
1. To cause land to become infertile from excessive farming. A noun or pronoun can be used between "farm" and "out." If we plant crops here again this season, we run the risk of farming out the field.
2. To assign work to someone or something outside of the person or company of origin. A noun or pronoun can be used between "farm" and "out." We decided to farm this filing project out to another company because we didn't have any employees to spare for it.
3. To place one's child in someone else's care. A noun or pronoun can be used between "farm" and "out." Since our anniversary is this weekend, do you think we can farm the kids out to your parents?
4. To have an employee do work for someone else. A noun or pronoun can be used between "farm" and "out." I can't farm out my assistant, I'd be lost without her!
5. In baseball, to send a major league player to a minor league team (i.e. a "farm team"). A noun or pronoun can be used between "farm" and "out." I know I haven't had a great season so far, but I never expected management to farm me out.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
farm someone out
1. [for someone in control] to send someone to work for someone else. I have farmed my electrician out for a week, so your work will have to wait. We farmed out the office staff.
2. to send a child away to be cared for by someone; to send a child to boarding school. We farmed the kids out to my sister for the summer. We farmed out the kids.
farm something out
1. to deplete the fertility of land by farming too intensely. They farmed their land out through careless land management. They farmed out their land.
2. to send work to someone to be done away from one's normal place of business; to subcontract work. We farmed the assembly work out. We always farm out the actual final assembly of the finished units.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Assign something to an outsider; subcontract something. For example, The contractor was so busy he had to farm out two jobs to a colleague, or When their mother was hospitalized, the children had to be farmed out to the nearest relatives . This term originally referred to letting or leasing land. Today it usually refers to subcontracting work or the care of a dependent to another. In baseball it means "to assign a player to a lesser ( farm) league," as opposed to a big league. [Mid-1600s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To distribute or delegate something, especially a task or responsibility: The camp counselor farmed out the cleaning tasks to the campers. We farmed the chores out to the kids.
2. Baseball To demote a major-league player to a minor-league team: The coach decided to farm the catcher out until he improved. The struggling pitcher was farmed out yesterday.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
farm out, to
To assign to an outsider, to subcontract. This term, which originated in the mid-1600s, at that time meant to lease land. Its current meaning dates from the 1900s. It is gradually being replaced by outsource, with the same meaning. Thus, “The publisher can’t afford an in-house copy editor so it farms out that work to freelancers” or “When you phone your Internet provider you often get someone from India or Bangladesh; they outsource all their calls.”
See also: farm
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer