I have a sentence, but there is an expression I can't understand. Could someone explain it to me? Here it is:

"You should treat your employees like adults instead of putting them in time out like a child."

Could someone direct me to a list of explanations of similar expressions: come out, take off, and so on

  • 2
    About your second question, well, just look for Phrasal verbs. Look into this Phrasal verbs list.
    – Alenanno
    Aug 11, 2011 at 10:05
  • You search "put someone in timeout"
    – Dalton
    Aug 11, 2011 at 10:14

2 Answers 2


Time out means "an imposed temporary suspension of activities, especially the separation of a misbehaving child from the others as a disciplinary measure."

  • 1
    it's an adult answer :)
    – igor
    Aug 11, 2011 at 11:31
  • Does the phrase originally come from hockey?
    – GEdgar
    Aug 11, 2011 at 23:22
  • @GEdgar: From wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-out_(parenting)) : "The concept of time-out was invented, named, and used by Arthur Staats in his extended work with his daughter (and later son), and was part of a long-term program of behavioral analysis beginning in 1958 that treated various aspects of child development." I don't know if he got the name from sports though :)
    – Lynn
    Dec 2, 2011 at 2:17

Time out is defined by the Merriam-Webster as:

: a quiet period used especially as a disciplinary measure for children

The sentence is saying that the employees should be treated stricter, and their punishments need to be more severe.

"Putting in time out" in this case is a metaphorical way of referring to giving the employees very mild punishments.

  • 3
    Actually, the sentence is "you should treat your employees like adults instead of […]." I would say the meaning is the opposite.
    – apaderno
    Aug 11, 2011 at 10:40
  • 1
    Yes, I know that, and I am explaining what the sentence means
    – Thursagen
    Aug 11, 2011 at 10:41
  • +1: Absolutely. It's important to point out that this is a metaphor. Or a simile, maybe, I'm not too sure. But it would definitely be a metaphor if the sentence hadn't carried on with "like a child." - which it could easily have omitted, without loss of grammaticality or meaning. Aug 12, 2011 at 0:19

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