Change Out Of: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
October 21, 2023

"Change out of" is a phrase people commonly use when discussing changing clothes or shifting from one situation or state to another. The phrase suggests that you are moving away from something, be it an outfit, a mood, or a circumstance, to something different. For instance, if you've been to a muddy playground and your clothes are dirty, you might say, "I need to change out of these clothes."

In short:

  • It refers to switching from one outfit or state to another.
  • It highlights a move from a current situation, often to a preferable or more comfortable one.

What Does "Change out of" Mean?

The phrase "change out of" primarily describes removing one set of clothes and putting on another. But beyond clothes, it can also highlight a transition or shift from one state or condition to another. So, when someone says, "I need to change out of this wet shirt," they want to wear a dry one.

Let's dig deeper into its main meanings and how it's used:

  • "Change out of" often refers to replacing clothes, especially if they are dirty, wet, or inappropriate for the occasion.
  • The phrase can also describe a transition from one mood or state to another, like changing out of a bad mood.
  • It underscores a sense of leaving behind or moving away from the current condition or situation.
  • You might hear someone use it after an event, saying, "It was fun while it lasted, but now it's time to change out of these party clothes," emphasizing the desire for more comfortable clothing.
  • Another way to express the same idea might be to "switch from" or "move away from."

Where Does "Change Out Of" Come From?

The term "change out of" likely has roots in the simple action of changing clothes. Its use expanded, limiting itself to clothing and capturing moods, situations, or circumstances transitions. The idea is to indicate a shift from one state to another, emphasizing the departure from the current state.

Historical Example

"And it should seem probable, that whatsoever creature, having life, is generated without seed, that creature will change out of one species into another."

- The Works of Francis Bacon: Baron of Verulam..., 1819

10 Examples of "Change Out of" in Sentences

To make it clearer when and how to use this phrase, let's look at some examples from various situations:

  • After the beach party, she quickly decided to clean up and change out of her sandy clothes.
  • Changing out of his work attire into casual clothes was always the highlight of his evening.
  • When it started raining suddenly, she had to change out of her wet dress.
  • So it goes: life is full of changes. We have to change out of our old habits and routines and adapt to new circumstances and situations.
  • Changing out of his gym clothes, he felt refreshed and ready to head home.
  • She didn’t like her new dress, so she chose to change out of it immediately after trying it on.
  • To each his own, but I prefer to change out of my work clothes the minute I get home.
  • After the marathon, they all wanted to change out of their sweaty clothes.
  • Changing out of his formal attire, he was ready to bask in the sun.
  • I don't want to bug you, but please remember to change out of your muddy shoes before you enter the house.

Examples of "Change Out Of" in Pop Culture

The phrase also has some mentions in pop culture, mostly in the context of fashion and transformation.

Let's see some references:

  • The song Still No Change by DZ Deathrays contains the lyrics: "You wanted a change out of me / But nothing feels quite right / You wanted a change out of this / But nothing’s right."
  • "Rachel put her hands on her hips. Val, I can't face Nathaniel if I don't do exactly what he asked. Now hurry and change out of the gown" is a quote from the book Change of Heart by Jennifer Moore.
  • Aidan himself was in his good trousers and jacket and, although he would have to change out of them as soon as he came home from Mass, he liked looking smart." This quote is from the book Winds of Change: Three Children Caught Up In Ireland's Land War.
  • "We resist change out of fear. This is quite common. We fear the loss of the known. It is scary to navigate without a map into uncharted territory." This is a quote from the book The Gift of Change: Embracing Challenges Today for a Promising Tomorrow by Constance Clancy-Fisher.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Change Out Of"

There are various other ways to convey a similar idea to "change out of."

Here are some alternatives:

  • Switch from
  • Swap out
  • Change from
  • Get out of
  • Shift out of
  • Exchange
  • Replace
  • Transition from
  • Shift from
  • Alter from

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Change Out Of":

  • What does "change out of" mean?

"Change out of" means to remove the clothes one is currently wearing and put on different clothes, typically because they're dirty, wet, or inappropriate for the situation.

  • How can I use "change out of" in a sentence?

You can use it when talking about swapping one outfit or attire for another. For example: “Let's change out of these costumes and stay in touch about the next theme party.” or “In this unpredictable weather, it's best to change out of light clothes and expect the unexpected with a raincoat”

  • Why would someone need to "change out of" something?

There could be several reasons like the clothes being wet, dirty, or uncomfortable. Or perhaps, the person wants to switch to attire that's more appropriate for a different setting or occasion.

  • Is "change out of" only related to clothes?

Primarily, yes. The phrase typically refers to swapping clothes. However, in broader contexts, it might be used metaphorically to describe shifting from one state or condition to another.

  • Can I say "change into" instead?

Yes, while "change out of" emphasizes what you're removing, "change into" emphasizes what you'll be wearing next. They're two sides of the same coin.

  • Does it always refer to a complete outfit change?

No, you could change out of just one item, like a shirt or pair of shoes. It doesn't always mean an entire outfit.

  • How is the phrase typically used in everyday conversations?

It's often used casually to explain a need for a different attire. For instance: “Let me change out of these shoes; they're killing my feet!” or “I'll change out of this sweater; it's too hot outside.”

  • Is "change out of" formal or informal?

The phrase "change out of" is neutral and can be used in both formal and informal contexts, depending on the rest of the sentence and conversation.

  • Do different cultures have similar phrases?

Yes, the concept of changing clothes is universal, so many cultures and languages will have their own ways of expressing this idea.

  • What's the opposite of "change out of"?

The opposite would be "change into," indicating the transition to a new set of clothes rather than away from the current set.

Final Thoughts About "Change Out Of"

The phrase "change out of" is about changing attire based on factors like comfort, appropriateness, or cleanliness. Whether considering comfort, the weather, or just feeling like a change, "change out of" is a handy phrase in your conversational toolkit.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "Change out of" is a straightforward way to indicate the need to swap clothes for some reason.
  • It's versatile, fitting into casual chats about daily life or more specific scenarios like post-exercise clothing changes.
  • Remember, while "change out of" focuses on what you're leaving behind, "change into" emphasizes the next outfit choice.

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