Google
English-Test.net
Find penpals and make new friends today!
 
part of a book; phase; stage; local branch of an organization
board
chapter
myriad
hyphen
full quiz correct answer
 
Username
Password
 Remember me? 
Search   Album   FAQ   Memberlist   Profile   Private messages   Register   Log in 

ways of saying "out to lunch"



 
ESL Forums | English Vocabulary, Grammar and Idioms
Usage of the phrase "riding a bike" | without vs unless
listening exercises
Message
Author
ways of saying "out to lunch" #1 (permalink) Mon Jan 07, 2008 13:43 pm   ways of saying "out to lunch"
 

Hi,

I'd thought that by saying "He's out to lunch" I imply that the person is having lunch, but recently I found out that "to be out to lunch" means "to be off the wall", "to be not right in the head".

So, could you tell me if you use "he's out to lunch" to say that somebody is not in the office and having dinner in the canteen ?

Thanks !

PS: It might've caused a lot of laughter on the other side of the phone when my colleague said "I'm sorry, but he cannot get cracking with this problem right now, because he's out to lunch"
Lost_Soul
I'm a Communicator ;-)


Joined: 15 Sep 2006
Posts: 1861
Location: South Park, Colorado, USA

ways of saying "out to lunch" #2 (permalink) Mon Jan 07, 2008 20:28 pm   ways of saying "out to lunch"
 

Provided that lunch can be a verb as well, it should not be that bad to say "out to lunch" as a short version of "he's out of the office in order to lunch".

"Out for lunch" should be fine as well. I hope :?
Thanos
I'm new here and I like it ;-)


Joined: 08 Dec 2007
Posts: 12

In this story you'll learn everything about the passive voiceEnglish grammar exercises — improve your English knowledge and vocabulary skillsAre you a native speaker of English? Then you should read this!Here is how you can learn English the fun way! Click to subscribe to free email English course
ways of saying "out to lunch" #3 (permalink) Mon Jan 07, 2008 22:43 pm   ways of saying "out to lunch"
 

Thanos wrote:
Provided that lunch can be a verb as well, it should not be that bad to say "out to lunch" as a short version of "he's out of the office in order to lunch".

That proposed sentence is not natural, and it sounds like foreigner English. It would be better just to say, "He's at lunch," or, "He's away at lunch." You can even say, "He's taken off for lunch," or, "He's not back from lunch yet." There are a lot of things you can say.

In slang, "out to lunch" doesn't mean "off the wall" or "not right in the head". It means that a person doesn't pay much attention or isn't very perceptive, and so he reacts to various situations in inappropriate ways.

Interestingly enough, now that I think of it, a person who simply doesn't know something isn't out to lunch. Being out to lunch requires that you not know something, that you don't know you don't know it, and that you don't make any attempts to understand it (probably because you don't know you don't understand). Sometimes it's the opposite of the idiom "on the ball".

Examples of people who are out to lunch would be:

Code:
-- A good-hearted manager who meets a girl with a lot of problems, feels sorry for her and gives her a job in order to boost her self-esteem and make her into a normal person. Meanwhile, the girl does next to no work, causes trouble among the staff, manipulates the secretaries and the upper management against her own boss, and never changes. The good-hearted manager nonetheless keeps thinking that change is just around the corner. That manager is out to lunch.

-- An entrepreneur who decides to start a business in a field he knows nothing about, and he doesn't even learn about it first. He hires experienced professionals in the business his company is engaged in, but because he's the boss, he insists on being a complete hands-on manager. This leads to a lot of trouble. When an employee asks permission to do some normal thing, the boss doesn't understand the question, but instead of asking for an explanation, he gives an answer that doesn't make any sense, and then he walks away. That entrepreneur is out to lunch.

-- There is a bloody Marxist revolution in a Latin American country. The guerilla forces trying to overthrow the democracy were founded and are led by an upper-class philosophy professor and other radicals from the privileged classes. They come to the United States, give speeches and collect money. Some Americans think that, because the radicals say they're Marxist, they must really be agrarian reformers from the oppressed classes, so they start writing checks. These Americans are out to lunch.

-- A guy and his sister, in their 20s, think that the mentally ill are kind of like friendly cartoon characters, cute bunnies or some kind of mascots. They hear that the crazy woman who walks up and down the street in the restaurant district mumbling to herself has a birthday today, so they walk around the neighborhood looking for her. When they finally see her coming, they spread their arms for a hug and say, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" The woman jumps out of the way, glares at them viciously, and growls at them like a zoo animal. That guy and his sister were out to lunch.
Jamie (K)
I'm a Communicator ;-)


Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6771
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA

ways of saying "out to lunch" #4 (permalink) Mon Jan 07, 2008 23:18 pm   ways of saying "out to lunch"
 

Hi, Jamie

Thank you for your thorough explanation ! The last story made me giggle ! :)
What led me to "out to lunch" was a status which you can set in the Windows Messenger programme (along with statuses such as "be right back", "away").
So, does "be out to lunch" mean "be away at lunch" when not used in slang ?
Lost_Soul
I'm a Communicator ;-)


Joined: 15 Sep 2006
Posts: 1861
Location: South Park, Colorado, USA

ways of saying "out to lunch" #5 (permalink) Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:49 am   ways of saying "out to lunch"
 

lost_soul wrote:
So, does "be out to lunch" mean "be away at lunch" when not used in slang ?

One of the normal ways to say that someone has gone to lunch is to say, "He's out to lunch." It has that double meaning, but only if your interlocutor is not cooperating.
Jamie (K)
I'm a Communicator ;-)


Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6771
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA

Display posts from previous:   
Usage of the phrase "riding a bike" | without vs unless
ESL Forums | English Vocabulary, Grammar and Idioms All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1
Latest topics on ESL EFL Forums
Can a hawk observe its prey?Meaning of would (The speed of the rise in temperature would be far faster...)Using the word "AFTER" as a preposition of placelie v.s. layis Experience countable?"During" vs "Through"The usage of 'would'stationer's vs stationary shop vs paper shopPrepositions of time and place: in, on, at, and after. When do we use them?what is the difference between "during" and "through"?Expressing reconsideration at the end of a sentence.correct me please: it is the official policy not to collect such data"what for" vs "for what"

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Get FREE English course via e-mail