In chapter VII of John Buchan's 1924 novel The Three Hostages, the following sentence occurs:

He told me all kinds of things about her - how she was crazy about dogs, and didn't fear anything in the world, and walked with a throw-out, and lisped delightfully when she was excited. Altogether at the end of it I felt I had a pretty good notion of Miss Victor...

The young man thus describing his fiancée would obviously not be using pejorative terms, so I presume that throw-out is an approving description of her gait, more genteel than talking of hip-swinging or a wiggle. I also presume that the expression is a 1920s colloquialism.

I have searched for the phrase on-line, searched on Stack Exchange, looked in various dictionaries and books of phrases both physical and online, and I have come up with absolutely nothing to the point. Most references I have found are to throw-out as a verb. The few references to it as a noun phrase define it as an object that has been discarded, which is obviously not the meaning that Buchan intended. Can anybody suggest what a 1920s reader would have understood by it?

  • 1
    Don't forget that in 1924 the adoption of shorter skirts revealing women's legs in normal usage was very new, there had been a shortening which revealed the ankles before and during the first world war but the proper short skirts, and particularly the flapper dresses, were a real innovation. Perhaps a "throw out" related to the revealing of the leg.
    – BoldBen
    Dec 10, 2022 at 0:22
  • Maybe: walked with her chest thrown out, as in a strut. Dec 10, 2022 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure if this is what Buchan meant, but I found a similar reference, using “throw out” as a verb, in a description of a wakeboarding trick.

Jump, tilt your shoulder — and entire frame — towards the boat, release your back hand and have your leading hand hold the handle at your hips. And immediately throw out your feet, up and diagonally (as if dancing the can-can).

So the quoted sentence may be saying that the woman walked with high kicks, as if she were dancing, or marching in a military parade.

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