Understanding the Idiom: "kick out" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English
  • (remove, expel): boot out

The idiom “kick out” is a commonly used phrase in English that refers to the act of forcing someone or something to leave a particular place or situation. This expression can be used in a variety of contexts, from personal relationships to professional settings, and it often carries a negative connotation.

When someone is kicked out, they are typically being removed against their will or without their consent. This can happen for many different reasons, such as breaking rules, violating policies, or simply not fitting in with the group. In some cases, kicking someone out may be necessary for safety reasons or to maintain order.

Despite its negative connotations, there are also situations where kicking someone out can be seen as a positive thing. For example, if someone is being bullied or mistreated by others in a social setting, kicking them out may help protect them from further harm.

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “kick out”

The idiom “kick out” is a commonly used phrase in the English language that refers to removing someone or something from a particular place or situation. The origins of this phrase can be traced back to historical contexts, where physical force was often used to remove individuals from certain areas.

The Origin of the Phrase

The term “kick out” has its roots in early English history, where it was used as a literal action to remove someone from a specific location. This could have been done through physically kicking them out, or using other forms of forceful removal.

Over time, the term evolved into an idiomatic expression that is now widely used in modern-day language. While the original meaning may have been lost over time, the essence of forcefully removing someone remains at the core of this phrase.

Historical Context

In historical contexts such as warfare and politics, physical force was often necessary to remove individuals from power or control. In these situations, phrases like “kick out” would have been commonplace and understood by all involved parties.

Event Description
Battlefield Warfare Kicking enemy soldiers off strategic locations on battlefields was common practice during medieval times.
Political Revolutions During political revolutions throughout history, leaders were often forcibly removed from power through violent means.

Today, while we no longer use physical force to remove people from positions of power or authority (at least not legally), we still use the phrase “kick out” to describe similar situations in our everyday lives.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “kick out”

One common usage of “kick out” is when someone is forced to leave a place or group. For example, if a person misbehaves at a party, they may be kicked out by the host. In this case, “kick out” means to expel or remove someone from a particular location or situation.

Another variation of this idiom is “get kicked out.” This form implies that the action was taken against one’s will. For instance, if someone gets caught cheating during an exam, they may get kicked out of school. Here, “get kicked out” suggests that the person did not choose to leave voluntarily but was instead forced to do so.

Additionally, “kick someone/something out” can also mean to reject or dismiss something outright. For instance, if an idea proposed during a meeting does not align with company values, it may be kicked out without further consideration.

Lastly, there are other phrases that use the word “kick,” such as kick off (to start) and kick up (to cause trouble). These phrases are related but have distinct meanings from “kick out.”

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “kick out”


The phrase “kick out” can be replaced by other idiomatic expressions such as “throw out,” “boot out,” or “expel.” These synonyms convey a similar idea of forcefully removing someone from a place or situation.


On the contrary, some antonyms for “kick out” include phrases like “let in,” “welcome,” or even simply saying that someone is allowed to stay. These words represent an opposite concept where instead of being forced to leave, someone is invited or permitted to enter.

Cultural Insights:

The use of this idiom varies across cultures. In Western societies, it is common to use expressions like “kicked off” when referring to starting something while in Eastern cultures kicking something/someone may be considered disrespectful and offensive. It’s important to consider cultural context when using idioms like these.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “kick out”

In order to truly master an idiom, it is important to not only understand its meaning but also be able to use it in context. The following practical exercises will help you become more comfortable with using the idiom “kick out” in everyday conversation.

Exercise 1: Conversation Practice

Find a partner and practice using the idiom “kick out” in a conversation. Come up with different scenarios where this idiom could be used such as discussing a friend who was kicked out of school or talking about someone who got kicked out of a party. Make sure to use the idiom correctly and in context.

Exercise 2: Writing Practice

Write a short story or paragraph using the idiom “kick out”. This exercise will help you become more comfortable with incorporating idioms into your writing. Try to use the idiom creatively and make sure it fits naturally within your writing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “kick out”

When using idioms in English, it is important to understand their meaning and usage. The idiom “kick out” is no exception. However, even if you know what this phrase means, there are still some common mistakes that people make when using it.

Mistake 1: Using it too casually

The idiom “kick out” implies a forceful removal or dismissal from a place or position. It should not be used lightly or in situations where a more polite expression would be appropriate.

For example, saying “I kicked my friend out of my house because she was annoying me” sounds harsh and rude. A better way to express the same idea would be to say something like “I politely asked my friend to leave because I needed some alone time.”

Mistake 2: Confusing its meaning with other idioms

There are many idioms in English that involve kicking, such as “kick up a fuss,” “kick the bucket,” and “kick someone when they’re down.” It’s easy to confuse these expressions with each other, but they have different meanings.

For instance, while “kick out” means to remove someone from a place or position forcefully, “kick up a fuss” means to complain loudly about something. To avoid confusion, make sure you understand the specific meaning of each idiom before using it.

  • Avoid using the idiom too casually.
  • Make sure you understand its specific meaning.

By avoiding these common mistakes when using the idiom “kick out,” you can communicate your ideas clearly and effectively in English.

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