Some species of tree have been read out of the party by economics-minded foresters because they grow too slowly.

Could anyone tell me what "read out" means here? Obviously, it doesn't mean read somthing loudly.


  • Bottom line, "read out of the party" means "excluded" and is some kind of figurative usage, but why the author chose the verb read for preference with economists baffles me.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 13:18
  • I found this, it might help.
    – wking
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 13:24
  • It's in ODO too.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 13:29
  • 1
    I have honestly never come across this idiom. Never.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 13:51
  • 1
    I've come across someone being read out of something (clubs, groups, that sort of thing), but it seems quite bizarre to me to use the phrase with reference to trees. It's not like trees are card-carrying members of some union that they can be expelled from. Perhaps the writer got weed out and read out confused and ended up with a kind of mixed idiom? Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


Never heard about it, but maybe this has a political/religious undertone:

read out (v.) "expel by proclamation" (Society of Friends) is from 1788.

And the Society of Friends links to that, the article on Quakers, a group of Protestant religious movements. The old Century has it too and gives the further example, similar to what was alluded to in the comments:

[..]to read a person out of a political party.

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