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Are the two the same thing? Example:

“Exploding Whale?” I blurted. “You mean someone blew up a whale with dynamite?”

“Exploding Whale?” I blurted out. “You mean someone blew up a whale with dynamite?”

What would be the difference in this case? Maybe none? I checked in the dictionary and there's blurted but not blurted out, however the dictionary example of blurted has and out: "she blurted out the truth".

When I typed blurted out on Google I got this:

to utter suddenly or inadvertently; divulge impulsively or unadvisedly (usually followed by out): He blurted out the hiding place of the spy.

It says usually followed by out. But it doesn't say why or when.

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It is an advervial use of out that adds emphasis to some actions:

Out:

  • without inhibition; boldly: speak out.
  • aloud or loudly: cry out

The Free Dictionary

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The OED uses the words "abruptly," "eruptively," "impulsively," and "burst out" to define "blurt" for verbal expression. So the word by itself contains enough of a propulsive sense so that "out" is redundant. However, the word "out" is appended often enough the combination is almost a set phrase. The google, for instance, finds 775K uses of "blurt" and 773K of "blurt out." Even allowing for some inevitable false drops, that's a close association.

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    So it seems one could safely use blurted out in any instance. It is a strong collocation, maybe even a set phrase. But not an idiom, as it literally means blurt+out. Right? Sep 2 '15 at 9:48
  • @BrianHitchcock Yes, yes, and yes. I used idiomatic in a informal sense that's perhaps unwise on this forum. It's better to reserve the word, as you point out, for situations where the whole is not deducible from its parts. Which doesn't apply here. Thanks for the gentle correction.
    – deadrat
    Sep 2 '15 at 10:47

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