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Flat out of time

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 22, 2011 at 19:27

In Reply to: Flat out of time posted by Anne on June 22, 2011 at 07:45:

: Does anyone know where the phrase, "I am flat out of time" came from?

Ever since the 16th century, ‘flat’ as an adverb has had the figurative sense ‘downright, absolutely, positively, plainly; entirely, fully, quite’. Thus, you can be flat broke, turn a proposal down flat, tell someone [something] flat, and be flat out of any commodity – time, money, self-raising flour, whatever. (‘Out of’, in the sense ‘lacking or deprived of’, is an even older phrase.)