Posted by Smokey Stover on April 25, 2004
In Reply to: It's time to break out the coats and scarves after winter posted by Smokey Stover on April 25, 2004
: : Is the *break out * equivalent of *take out* in that case?
: : muchezz
: "After winter?" Do you mean after winter is over? Or after winter has arrived? In either case, it is an unexpected and unclear phrase. One breaks out the coats and scarves when winter is beginning. But this is a bit unusual, too. You are likely to break out the good wine for guests, or break out the guns for a different emergency. I don't know why you would "break out" the coats and scarves unless you had an unexpected and unseasonable snowstorm. When winter is nigh, or at hand, or just starting, you take the coats out of storage, or get them out, just as you take out, bring out, get out, your summer clothes as the Spring gets warmer. But you could break them out, too, if that's the way you like to talk. SS
OED Online: Break out: "to open up (a receptacle or the like) and remove its contents; to get articles out of a place of storage; ...." Breaking the coats out of storage may seem to mean the same as taking them out, but the normal verb, for normal circumstances (according to me, not the OED), would be taking them out, or getting them out. SS