What does the idiom "be out of practice" mean?

be out of practice is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression be out of practice is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "be out of practice"


When someone is said to be 'out of practice', it means that they lack skill or experience in a particular activity, usually as a result of not having had the opportunity to perform that activity in a while. For example, someone might be said to be "out of practice" when it comes to playing a certain sport if they haven't played it in a while, or if someone hasn't worked in a particular field in a few years, they may be said to be "out of practice" in it.


The phrase “out of practice” has been in use since the late 1800s. It is believed to have originated from the medical term “out of practice”, which was used to describe a doctor who had not been actively engaged in the medical profession for some time. Over time, the phrase has come to be used to describe any person who has not been keeping up with any type of activity.


The phrase “out of practice” is typically used as an adjective in a sentence, as in the following examples: “He has been out of practice for several years.”; “She is out of practice with her music.”; “He is out of practice in his job.” It can also be used as a verb in some cases, such as in the phrase “to be out of practice”. This phrase is often used when talking about physical or mental skills that require regular upkeep and maintenance in order to remain proficient.

Example Sentences

  • "I haven't played tennis in years, so I'm really out of practice."
  • "After taking a break from her job, she found herself out of practice."
  • "She hasn't touched a piano in months, so she's out of practice."

The meanings of the words in the "be out of practice" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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