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

Evan Morris words1 at WORD-DETECTIVE.COM
Fri Jul 21 18:25:12 UTC 2006

Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
> A house painter today asked me about the addition of "out" to verbs that don't seem to need it.
> Sample:
> "Do you want these windows painted?"
> "No, we're gonna change out these windows."
> And:
> "We're gonna paint out that shelf."
> He tells me that he's heard these sentences from contractors and adds "I find that kinda annoying."
> Is this use of "change out" and "paint out" more than a localism?
> Gerald Cohen
> (in south central Missouri)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"Change out" and "swap out" are staples of (and have probably been
spread by) home-renovation shows on HGTV and the like (which I watch
only under duress ("Come look at how simple it is to replace
screens!")).  (It ain't simple, BTW.)

"Paint out" sounds like an overenthusiastic extension of the idiom.

Evan Morris
words1 at word-detective.com

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

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