Is there any logical explanation for how the phrase making out came together?

I know that it has sexual implications (at least kissing, with the intent go further), I just can't imagine its ancestry.

2 Answers 2


Make out has been used with a sexual meaning since 1939.

The third edition of the NOAD reports the meaning of make out is, informally, "engage in sexual activity", "make progress", and "fare".

  • It's actually slightly more specific than that nowadays. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Making_out
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 23:31
  • As an 11k user I'm quite sure you know this, but my inner pedant would like to point out that on 1939 is incorrect. It would be clearer to say It was first used with this meaning in 1939. Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 23:44
  • I guess that means a fully logical explanation of the phrase does not really exist. Too bad.
    – Tomalak
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 8:41
  • 3
    @Tomalek: If you don't get an answer to your question, you don't have to click 'accept' on whatever exists; you can wait until you get one. :-) Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 10:00
  • @ShreevatsaR: I know pretty well how these sites work. :) However, I had a feeling that it would not get much better than this. Some phrases just cannot be fully explained.
    – Tomalak
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 22:13

According to Merriam-webster Under the 24th article for the word "Make" it states: 《24 : to persuade to consent to sexual intercourse : SEDUCE》 And like most of the explanations agree it usually refers to preteens and teenagers, And that type of behavior was typically done while away from home or "Out" Maybe "out" on a date . When put together you have "Make-Out"

  • In contrast to the accepted answer, this actually gets a little bit closer to the "logical explanation" requested by the OP. It goes one step further.
    – qdread
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 17:54

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