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Out of this world

Posted by Smokey Stover on November 25, 2005

In Reply to: Out of this world posted by Smokey Stover on November 25, 2005

: : : out of this world. Anybody know where this one comes from or why?

: : If it's out of this world it's otherworldly. It's usually meant as a sort of superlative: better than anything on THIS world. Does that fit your context? SS

: If you Google "out of this world" you will find nearly 4 million entries available. Besides its use as hyperbole, it's sometimes used as a catch phrase for anything, such as an enterprise or piece of entertainment, which has to do with space travel, astronomy, celestial bodies, the non-religious supernatural. or anything else otherworldly. There was a movie in 1945 (Eddie Bracken, Veronica Lake), a musical by Cole Porter , a song sung by Frank Sinatra, a computer game , and my favorite, a pleasant and amusing TV comedy (1987-91) about an American family normal in every respect except that dad is perpetually off-planet. SS

One more follow-up. The Oxford English Dictionary has this to say: "out of this world: (i) superlatively good, fine beyond description; beautiful, delightful, wonderful. Also as adv. and attrib. phrases. colloq. and slang (orig. U.S. Jazz). [citations] 1928 R. FISHER Walls of Jericho 303 Out (of) this world, beyond mortal experience or belief. 1931 Inter-State Tattler 17 Dec. 12 Alberta Hunter..warbles out of this world. . . . 1972 J. ROSSITER Rope for General Dietz v. 61 She gave me the skinned fruit... With Cointreau poured on, mine tasted out of this world.
(ii) In neutral or derogatory contexts: unworldly; quite remarkable; also incredibly bad or repulsive.
1941 B. SCHULBERG What makes Sammy Run? vii. 149 The gallery was in a funny little bungalow with an easy~going, out-of-this-world atmosphere. 1951 'A. GARVE' Murder in Moscow ii. 32 They hate our guts, and the way they behave is out of this world."