A particularly quotable 1970s British comedy film includes the following pseudo-old-english instructions for dispatching a troublesome foe:

First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.

What is the meaning of "right out" in this context? It does not sound like something from old english, so I assume it's an expression relevant to 1970s British English. For those unfamiliar with the operation of hand grenades, typically the number "five" would correspond with the explosion of said grenade. This leads me to believe that the phrase means "insane", "incredibly stupid", or something similar, but I have been unable to find any references to support this.


I am already familiar with a number of uses of the phrase "right out":

The horse stopped right out of the gate.

We're right out of peanut butter.

The water leaked right out of the jug.

The play was right out of the handbook.

I'll be right out!

Take a right out of the driveway.

He left it right out in the open.

Despite doing a reasonable amount of research, I was only able to find references that were similar to the uses above. None seemed to match the apparent use in the quote.


1 Answer 1


This is dialogue from Monty Python's Holy Grail (1975)

right out

...may not be a recognized expression, but the implied meaning "absolutely excluded", as in "out of the question", was intended as a comical change in register. In modern usage...


not acceptable or not possible:

-Cambridge online

...using "right" with it as an intensifier.


used for emphasizing when something is bad:

Also check out "snuff it".


also : kill, execute

-Merriam Webster

The rest of the text is pseudo 17th century KJV Bible early-modern English, and serves as the bread hiding the meat.

  • 4
    Got it, so it's less of a compound expression, and more of "right" as in, "he'll fix ya up right quick", and "out" as in "out of the question", so essentially it is a shortened version of "counting to five is right out of the question". FWIW, I did about as much research as any other question I'd ask on SX, but the phrase is so overloaded that it's difficult to find any similar references. And the use of "out" in this case still seems unnatural to me.
    – MooseBoys
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 21:15
  • 2
    @MooseBoys BTW... "right" in this context is more like..."He's a right bastard, he is." The American usage, although also colloquial, is not quite so intense. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 21:35

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