Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

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 ?
Does your team use a specific type of defense when defending the opposition's Sideline Out-of-Bounds (S.
Common mistake: Player A drops the ball two club lengths from the nearest out-of-bounds stake.
You must cut off the dogleg, but to hit over the out-of-bounds you must have great discipline and presence.
What the critics try to say is that sexuality should be out-of-bounds as serious academic inquiry.
Does the field provide enough out-of-bounds room for safe stopping?
Sign up for a mountain experience instructor to guide you out-of-bounds, including an early morning run from the tram before the mountain opens.
Have we ruled anti-Semitism out-of-bounds in our lives?
If plants start growing out-of-bounds, you can prune wayward stems and pinch growing tips to slow vertical growth.
My game has double faults, net balls, out-of-bounds shots, and other blunders.
Like other cancers, a melanoma is the patient's own cells spreading out-of-bounds, and scientists reason that different types of immunotherapy may help stop their trespassing in otherwise normal tissues.
Reading the continuous coverage of Bibi's visit in the last few days makes you feel that the White House and its supporters are now playing their own version of Calvinball; let's call it "protocol," which is the official-sounding scare-word they use to imply that Bibi's behavior was thoroughly out-of-bounds.
In game 1 of the Talk N' Text and Rain or Shine Semifinals on April 28, the game officials missed an out-of-bounds violation that should have given ball possession to Rain or Shine at the 22 second mark of the 4th quarter," the PBA posted on its official Twitter account.
Matthews had a hit out-of-bounds on Kaepernick midway through the second quarter, and 49ers left tackle Joe Staley made contact with Matthews after the play and received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.