Posted by Lewis on January 09, 2006
In Reply to: Better out than in posted by James Briggs on January 08, 2006
: : : : Can the phrase "better out than in" mean that it is better to vommit the food out than to keep it in and get poisoned.The comntext in which the phrase is used is about ione young woman who is feeling sick in the toilet.Thank you in advance.
: : : I, fortunately, haven't heard this used in this context in real life: a person "breaks wind" or burps and says the above.
: : There's an old proverb, going back to the 18th century at least, meaning much the same thing: "better an empty house than an ill [i.e. bad, not sick] tenant".
: My understanding is that this is, at least in the parts of the UK where I've lived, a colloquial way to mean the release of something unpleasant, be it bad thoughts, pus, vomit etc, etc. All of these things are 'better out than in'. I've certainly heard in used in the operating theatre after the removal of a nasty looking appendix.
usually 'better out than in' is a reference to burping releasing wind.
on that kind of topic there was an old rhyme used about good conduct in that regard
"when outside let the wind blow free
in church and chapel, let it rattle"