What does out of sight out of mind mean?
This common phrase is used to say that we tend to forget or discard what is outside of our immediate sight - be it a person or a thing. In other words, if we don't see someone or something for a while, we may stop thinking about them or about them, or regard the absent person or thing as less important than what or who is present and visible to us.
Here are some example sentences using dictationOut of sight out of mindto help you better understand its meaning:
- My old friends promised me that they would call me every day after I moved out and that we would stay as close as ever. But it's been a few months since I left and I haven't heard from them. I think it's true when they say out of sight, out of mind.
- I had company and needed to clean the house quickly, so I put all my mail in a drawer in the kitchen. It meant my bills were out of sight, out of mind, so I completely forgot to pay them that month.
- At our house, it's out of sight, out of mind of our landlord, who lives in another town. There are so many things that need fixing, but since he's far away and busy with other rental properties in his town, our apartment just isn't a priority.
- When I told her I would have to change colleges, my girlfriend said she wanted to continue our long-distance relationship. I was scared because people always say out of sight, out of mind. But she assured me that she would never forget me.
- It can be easy to take a prescient, madcap stance on the pandemic. If they don't know anyone affected and there aren't many cases in their community, they may almost forget it. Unfortunately, this perspective can mean they don't take all the proper security measures.
The language is usually interrupted with a comma afterwardsVision.
The origin of the expression
Out of sight out of mindcomes from ancient Greece. Especially for the Greek epic theOdyssey, which is usually attributed to Homer and probably dates to the late 7th or early 8th century B.C. dates from. The poem is divided into 24 books that tell the story of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, and his journey home after the Trojan War. It was originally composed in Homeric Greek. An English translation of the section containing the proverb reads:
"He's lost and gone now - out of sight, out of mind - and I...
He left me in tears and sadness. I don't break my heart either
and mourn for him alone. No longer. now the gods
They invented other ailments to torment me.”
Of course, the original Homeric Greek version may not contain the phrase exactly as we use it today, just the idea it expresses. Linguistic historians suggest that the proverb's first appearance in English is sometime in the 16th century. It was probably first printed in English in the work of John Heywood.A dialogue with the current count of all proverbs in English, published in the late 1540s.
Understand idioms and proverbs
Out of sight out of mindit is an idiom and a proverb. OneLanguageis a figurative term with an intended meaning that cannot normally be understood, or at least not fully understood, by just looking at the individual words that make it up. Even if you've never heard the termLanguage, you've probably heard a lot of idioms. If you were to consult an idiom dictionary, here are some of the most common idioms you would find:
you are in trouble
Your boss gave you the axe.
It's time to face the music.
You've hit the nail on the head.
If you took the first example literally, you might think it describes a person standing in a bathtub filled with hot water. But the phrase is actually used to describe a person who is in trouble. Likewise, getting your boss's ax means you get fired instead of literally getting a woodcutter's tool.It's time to face the musicIt means it's time to accept the consequences of your actions. And when someone got it right, got an accurate answer, or did something exactly as it should have been done.
TakeOut of sight out of mindliterally, and you might be a little confused. After all, being "crazy" can be "crazy". But now you know that in this phrase, "out of mind" means "forgotten." You can also understand "out of sight" as "blind" as opposed to someone or something "out of direct line of sight". As an idiom, the phrase means that if we don't see a person or thing for a while, we tend to stop thinking about it or that - or as much as we used to - and start focusing our thoughts on what or who we are can see.
The well-known expression is also asaying. A proverb is a short, common phrase or saying that offers advice or shares a universal truth. Synonyms of the termsayingcontainsaying,Aphorismus, zmaximal. Here are some more examples of popular proverbs:
Blood is thicker than water.A picture is worth a thousand words.Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
Surely you have also seen or heard a popular saying that is an antonym ofOut of sight out of mind:Absence makes the heart beat faster. This expression means that when you spend time away and apart from someone or something, you really miss and love them, maybe more than if you were with them or with them all the time. Now you may be wondering, how can these two proverbs be true? While proverbs offer some general wisdom and advice, they may not be true for everyone under all circumstances. There may be people who are quick to forget someone who is out of sight, just as there may be people who think they are thinking and loving someone else when they are far away. What is the most common case for you:Out of sight out of mindorAbsence makes the heart beat faster?!
The expressionOut of sight out of mindit means we forget what we cannot see; that we tend to stop thinking about someone or something when they are out of sight for a period of time - or at least not thinking about them as much as we used to, but about the people and things that are immediately ahead of us us. In other words, what is not visible becomes less important than what is visible.
For the past 15 years I have dedicated my career as a writer, editor, communications specialist and language arts teacher to words and language. I look forward to exploring all things English with you and The Word Counter!
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