What is the meaning of "out of curiosity"?

Could it mean out of ideas? Or maybe it means he is curious? How should I know what he means?

  • 1
    "How should I know what he mean?" You could google it. Of course, using the proper spelling might help. macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/curiosity ell.stackexchange.com/a/27038 Feb 1, 2017 at 6:35
  • 5
    Out of is used to show the reason why someone does something: I took the job out of necessity because we had no money left. You might like to come and see what we're doing out of interest (= because I think you might be interested). - Cambridge Dictionary
    – user66974
    Feb 1, 2017 at 6:36
  • 1
    @Josh has answered your question as well as you can expect it to be answered, but your question would be clearer if you gave us some context.
    – BoldBen
    Feb 1, 2017 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


out of curiosity simply means that you are interested in knowing something for no other reason except that you just want to know it. Does that make sense to you? I think a couple of examples would help here.

Example #1:

— I know it's none of my business, but just out of sheer curiosity how much money does he make a month?
— I think, something like five grand.

Example #2:

— I know it's not very appropriate to ask a woman this, but just out of curiosity, how old are you?
— I'm 32.

out of something means that you are doing something only for that reason you. So, you could say, for example:

— Why didn't you call the police the moment it happened?
Out of fear. I was afraid that I would get arrested.

What this says is that the reason that you did not call the police was fear. In other words, the reason you did not call the police was that you were afraid they would arrest you too.

I hope everything is clear now.


‘Out of curiosity’ simply means ‘because I/he/she was curious’. In this example, ‘out of’ is used to justify a decision.

  • The answers above spell out what "Just out of curiosity" should mean, but it is often used as a way of picking an argument. Example: _____, who voted to close this question," gave this specific reason:" you didn't do any research or the question is better suited for ELL. Now just out of curiosity _____, how can you possibly think you have specified a reason, when you have given two entirely different reasons? Here what is expressed is not curiosity, but annoyance.
    – Airymouse
    Feb 1, 2017 at 22:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.