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Out of my tree

Posted by Smokey Stover on November 23, 2008 at 21:03

In Reply to: Out of my tree posted by Traci Chance on November 12, 2008 at 09:11:

: Anybody know the origin of the phrase "out of my tree", as in "I'm bored out of my tree" or "I was scared out of my tree"?

My sketchy search of the Net did not provide any meanings directly associated with "bored out of my tree" or "scared out of me tree." Almost all the examples cited in, say, the Urban Dictionary or the Dictionary of Slang, use "out of my tree" as synonyous with either extremely drunk or out of my mind. If you take those as meanig tree = mind, then you can easily be scared or bored out of your tree. But how did tree get to be mind? I can't answer.

On the other hand, "our of my gourd" has what by comparision is an old and logical ancestry. One's gourd is one's cranium (and seat of the mind), and has been so since the first half of the 19th century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED finds "out of one's gourd" used to mean dead drunk or insane since the 1970s, at least in the New World.