When I was a child, I learned that the term "out of" could be used to apply to a person or thing to describe where he, she or it was from. For example, a ship docked in Miami could be described as "out of Boston" as a means of describing that ship's hailing port, Boston. By the same token, a professional football player on the Denver team, playing in Dallas, might be described as being "out of Purdue" as a means of describing where he played college football. But now, I hear newsreaders say that a company is based "out of" a particular town. For example, they will say, "The Apex Corporation is based out of Philadelphia." This causes me to wonder, "Well, if they aren't based in Philadelphia, then where are they based?" Of course, the newsreader actually meant to say, "Apex Corporation is based in Philadelphia." As best as I can remember, the term "out of" came to be the preferred alternative to the word "in" sometime during the early 1980s, as I don't remember hearing this error prior to that. I'd be interested to know if there is a documented example of it appearing before that time. For those of us who learned the language long before the 1980s, this is especially confusing as the term "out of" means the exact opposite of the word "in." Why would someone use a two word combination (out of), that means the exact opposite of what they really meant to say, when a single word (in), that describes what they really do mean, is a better choice of words?

  • The beginnings of Orwell's Newspeak? You can't prevent that some people have no feeling for language. But nobody forces you to imitate nonsensical things.
    – rogermue
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 5:39
  • 2
    "based out of" sounds like it was taken over straight from nautical terms - synonym "hails from" so where is the confusion?
    – mplungjan
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 5:46
  • Don't even get started on bring vs take... Jealousy and envy... take a decision vs make a decision...
    – user126158
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 23:09
  • @mplungjan In a deep and thunderous bass the answer came back through the speaking-trumpet, “The Begum, of Bengal – 142 days out from Canton – homeward bound! What ship is that?” Well, it just crushed that poor little creature’s vanity flat, and he squeaked back most humbly, “Only the Mary Ann, fourteen hours out from Boston,... From Mark Twain's beautiful "Begum of Bengal" speech, which he based on an incident near the end of R. Dana's Two Years before the Mast.
    – Airymouse
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


I think based out of is often usd to refer to organizations with a widespread presence. So they are not actually in any single place, that's just the location of their main headquarters. From there they've spread out to all their field offices and foreign subsidiaries.

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