English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Could someone explain the meaning of the phrase "out of the box"? Is it an adjective or an adverb or an idiom? Please point out its function in below sentences.

For Python fans of Google’s Cloud SQL (currently available in limited preview), the long awaited out-of-the-box support for the Django framework has arrived and is now available as an experimental feature.

Django 1.3 is not available on all Python runtimes out of the box

share|improve this question
It’s not a word; it’s a phrase. One can only call something a “word” if it has no spaces in it — I think. – tchrist Mar 21 '12 at 2:55
Sure. I reworded all. – bnguyen82 Mar 21 '12 at 3:08
General Reference. Googling define out of the box gives a clear definition in the "snippet view" of the top result. Other than that, it's an idiomatic adjectival phrase. – FumbleFingers Mar 21 '12 at 3:44
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If something can be used out of the box, it means it can be used easily without much further effort. In

TeXworks has out-of-the-box support for synctex

out-of-the-box may be seen as an idiomatic adjective modifying the noun support. In

TeXworks can be used out of the box with synctex

out of the box may be seen as an idiomatic adverbial phrase modifying the verb used.

Also note that think out of the box has another meaning altogether: to think in an unusual way.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for clear explanation. I accept this. – bnguyen82 Mar 21 '12 at 3:17

It means ready-to-go, without any complicated installation or assembly.

Have you ever bought something at the store, and you opened the carton, only to realize it would be at least an hour before you'd be able to use it? That's called some assembly required, and it's the opposite of out-of-the-box.

For software, though, out-of-the-box refers to no complicated installations or configurations, as opposed to no physical assembly.

Reference: Meaning #2 at Wiktionary.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for good answer. – bnguyen82 Mar 21 '12 at 3:18

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.