(to be) out of action

Idiom Definition

"to be out of action"

for a machine - not working or not usable;

for a person - not able to participate

Idiom Definition - to be out of action


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to be out of action

Bob is standing in front of a candy bar machine.  He put his money in.  He pressed the button to receive his candy.  The machine is broken and will not dispense candy.  Another person watching Bob might say to Bob...

"I think that machine is out of action!"

Perhaps a repairman needs to fix the machine.  Perhaps there should be a sign that says... "OUT OF ORDER".

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to be out of action

Jane went downhill skiing in the mountains last weekend.  Jane fell and broke her leg.  A friend calls Jane on the telephone and asks Jane if she would like play baseball.  Jane replies...

"I'm sorry.  I can´t.  I fell and broke my leg.  Now I'm out of action for a little while.!"

In this case, we see that Jane is literally not able to be active because she broke her leg.  You can use the idiom to be out of action for non-physical situations as well.

to be out of action - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   1,036   click for frequency by country

to be out of action - Gerund Form:

Being out of action can be difficult because a person must be patient when they are unable to perform the usual activities of life.

to be out of action - Examples:

1)  I am out of action.  I have a cold.

2)  You are out of action.  You sprained your ankle.

3)  He is out of action.  He broke his leg.

4)  She is out of action.  She does not feel well.

5)  It is out of action.  The car is broken.

6)  We are out of action.  We can not play.

7)  You (all) are out of action.  You (all) must have a virus.

8)  They are out of action.  They must have all fallen on the ice.

9)  Grady Sizemore's back injury is expected to keep him out of action until mid-summer.

10)  Losing a carrier (or even getting it put out of action) would puncture the aura of naval invincibility.

11)  The news broke this morning that Carles Puyol will be out of action for up to six weeks, which means he'll miss the Cup final.

12)  Latham has been out of action since the end of the high school season with a knee injury.

13)  The fire engine was left out of action on the service's busiest night of the year.

14)  Devils coaches had no issue putting him back in the lineup after being out of action for nearly two months.

15)  McGuinness was out of action in the fall for a number of months due to a shoulder injury. 

16)  Technical problems kept the Whirlwind out of action until December 1940.

17)  The Toronto Raptors are out of action for a couple of days.

18)  For instance, at my tube station, the escalator has been out of action for what seems like months

19)  With the Doctor out of action, Martha has to become the hero today.

20)  I think he will be out of action for at least 7-10 more days.