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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


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!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
If playing man, do you switch all off-the-ball screens when playing man-to-man on out-of-bounds plays?
On the fourth hole, a par-five, he hooks his second shot toward the out-of-bounds markers.
Out-of-bounds posts running tightly along the left-hand side add to your worries, especially in a stiff wind.
The tags transmit a signal at regular intervals to receivers mounted outside the field, which in turn transmit the captured data to a computer that determines the exact position of the ball and each player, information about goals, out-of-bounds, and offsides is passed to the referees, who wear a receiver and a display on their wrist.
The unit compares the measured value at the CP test point against preset alarm levels and can deliver alarms upon detection of out-of-bounds conditions.
It monitors all TCP/IP traffic--Internet, intranet, email, attachments, chat, IM, P2P and more--for out-of-bounds activity plus it has adaptive URL blocking.
This was followed by an out-of-bounds that went to Sharp, giving them possession and a chance to tie at 31-30.
In the iconographic truisms of black representation, Ligon questions the "truth." And, according to catalogue essayist Wayne Koestenbaum, "The good may be approached only through the sacrilegious vocabulary of the out-of-bounds."
Out-of-bounds is down the entire right side of the hole, and anything over the green will run down a steep slope that makes for a very difficult recovery shot.
This situation is encouraged no doubt by a loosening of government restrictions, increasing access to formerly out-of-bounds areas of Burma.
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?