outside the box

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outside (of) the box

Outside of or beyond what is considered usual, traditional, or conventional. I've been trying to think out of the box for my term paper topic because I know the professor hates unoriginal ideas. The plan was pretty outside of the box, but it sounded like it might just work.
See also: box, outside

outside the box

Outside of or beyond what is considered usual, traditional, or conventional. I've been trying to think outside of the box about what I want this term paper to be about. I know the professor hates unoriginal ideas. OK, team, we need some ideas that are really outside the box if we're going to impress the CEO!
See also: box, outside

outside the box

Also, to think outside the box. To think or behave in an unconventional way, in a novel or often creative fashion. The “box” in question represents the limits of what is usually thought or done. In discussing a new surgical approach for treating multiple sclerosis, Denise Grady wrote, “The new theory has taken off on the Internet. . . . Supporters consider it an outside-the-box idea that could transform treatment of the disease” (New York Times, June 29, 2010). Novelist Jo Bannister similarly used the phrase adjectivally: “Instead of driving off he found himself indulging in some out-of-the-box thinking” (Liars All, 2009). And the Boston Globe headlined an article about an interdisciplinary program offering an alternative to classroom education, “Teaching Outside the Box” (August 18, 2010). See also thinking inside the box.
See also: box, outside