Out of Stock

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Meaning of Idiom 'Out of Stock'

The idiom out of stock is the opposite of in stock and refers to items offered for sale in retail establishments. When an item is 'out of stock' the store or online business does not physically have the item in inventory, whether on the premises or in a warehouse and so the item is unavailable for sale. When something is out of stock, it is usually only temporary. 1,2


"I want to buy that new phone I wanted but they were already out of stock. I couldn't find it anywhere."

"You should start your Christmas shopping early before all the good stuff is out of stock."

"I'm sorry, that book is out of stock right now but new copies are on the way."


c. Early 1900's.

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.

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