The sentence was in Lost (TV Series). I got the overall meaning of the sentence. But what does it exactly mean?

[SAWYER pointing a gun at JACK]

JACK: Trying to be funny?

SAWYER: Yeah, I was fresh out of pies to throw at you. Here you go, sheriff. [SAWYER gives the gun to JACK]

  • Just adding another quote to the thesaurus: in this article about the impact of iCloud on the HDD industry: "Nobody will mourn MobileMe, it being software for masochists to whip themselves with and enjoy having multiple, repetitive and incomplete calendars across their iThis and iThat devices. But three companies certainly will mourn the loss of the PC as an ITunes synch station: Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. The spinning disk gang are fresh out of luck". – Alain Pannetier Φ Jun 8 '11 at 14:06

According to my NOAD the informal expression "be fresh out of" means "have just sold or run out of a supply of (something)."

You can see an example also on the OALD.

So he basically meant "I ran out of pies to throw at you."

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    @Manoochehr The reason he's talking about throwing pies is that a pie in the face is a typical vaudevillian gag (comic theatre). – Kit Z. Fox Jun 8 '11 at 11:34
  • @Kit I didn't thought of mentioning that, but I suppose it's a pretty famous gag, isn't it? I mean, everybody knows about it. – Alenanno Jun 8 '11 at 11:41
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    Can't say for sure everyone knows it, so I thought I'd mention it, just in case. But that's why it's a comment and not an answer. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 8 '11 at 11:43
  • @Kit You did well, actually! Thanks for adding it. :D – Alenanno Jun 8 '11 at 11:43
  • If the meaning is that something recently ran out, the phrase makes sense at face value-- it's just a grammatically loose version of "we have freshly run out of Twizzlers". I never knew it meant that, though; it seems like people mostly mean that they're completely out of something, regardless of when it ran out. – bobtato Jul 10 '14 at 2:59

To add to the dictionary definition Alenanno provides, I feel obliged to point out that the expression "fresh out of" is a colloquialism that is often used in a confrontational manner. In the film Full Metal Jacket, for instance, the belligerent Marine called "Animal Mother" confronts the film's protagonist, Private Joker, by saying: "Hey, asshole. Cowboy's wasted. You're fresh out of friends."

There are other kinds of confrontational usages, sometimes implying that the speaker is not really out of the item, just that he won't sell any to you. For example, if a black man in the South before the civil rights movement tried to buy something in a "whites only" store, he might have heard that usage in a mocking, derisive way:

Black customer: Can I buy some cigarettes here?

White proprietor: [Standing in front of shelves stocked with cigarettes] Boy, we're fresh out.

The other connotation is that the seller has just this minute run out of the item.

Do you have any blueberry pie?

Sorry, we're fresh out. The guy who came in just before you ordered the last piece.

  • +1; I consider this answer more directly responding to the heart of the question. Sawyer's attitude is less that of a shop keeper; more that of a sardonic joker. – MrHen Jun 8 '11 at 13:37
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    +1: The fresh can be substituted with just. As in, "It's such a shame: I've just sold the last cigarettes a minute ago". So that the fresh is the same as in fresh news. – Alain Pannetier Φ Jun 8 '11 at 14:11
  • I think the confrontational use derives from the recent use - so "we're fresh out" means "we just ran out this second" or "we ran out when you came in" – Keith Jun 8 '11 at 15:27

Robusto and Alenanno have explained what "fresh out of" means, but why would Sawyer be talking about throwing pies at Jack at all?

Throwing custard (or cream) pies is a long-time standard of slapstick comedy. The victim ends up covered in gunk and humiliated, but fundamentally unharmed. So what Sawyer is saying is that he would be funny by throwing custard pies at Jack, but since he doesn't have any custard pies he is pointing the gun at him instead. That isn't at all funny, but it's the best he has got.

Except that, being Sawyer, he says it with great sarcasm, leaving you not entirely sure how much of his statement is a bad joke, and how much is a threat.

  • +1 … reading Alennano’s and Robusto’s answers I got the impression that somebody had asked after the meaning of the idiom “and then some”, and they had explained how “and” is used as a conjunction. Your answer actually explains the usage in context. – Konrad Rudolph Jun 8 '11 at 15:49
  • Mm, yes. I knew I should have posted it as an answer. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 8 '11 at 20:26
  • @Konrad Rudolph It's Alenanno, not Alennano :D – Alenanno Jun 9 '11 at 18:28
  • @Alenanno: see, this is why double consonants are a bad idea ;-) – user1579 Jun 9 '11 at 18:31
  • Well, in Italian they are useful :D – Alenanno Jun 9 '11 at 18:33

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