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Better out than in

Posted by James Briggs on January 08, 2006

In Reply to: Better out than in posted by Victoria S Dennis on January 07, 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.