"change out a window", "paint out a shelf"

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Jul 20 15:57:20 UTC 2006

I have heard *change out* before, and I'm pretty sure it was on both sides of
the Atlantic.  Its field of reference seems to be limited to things that you
have to take out of wherever they are in order to change them for another new
one:  windows are an obvious referent, and I think I've heard it about engines
too.  Is it plausible that *change out* is a blend

*change* + *take out*?

>From there, could we have a wider extension of particle *out* in the home
improvements domain, signifying that a change is being made to some object in
order to improve it, bring the project closer to completion, or whatever?  Such
a progression would account for *paint out a shelf*, anyway.

Just an attempt at justifying a WAG.

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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