From the movie Behind the Candelabra:

Liberace: So, Scott, do you have any family left?

Scott: Oh, no, not really. My mom's been in and out of places, you know, for my whole life.

Liberace: Oh, really?

Scott: And I have two sisters and a brother, and then four half-brothers and sisters from two different fathers. Most of them live with their fathers. The rest of us, like me and Wayne, we were sent to state-run homes and then Mom would come get us and we'd live with her for a while, then... she'd have her troubles again and they'd have to put her away

Although I understand what Scott is saying, I wonder if "in and out of places" is idiomatic or if this usage of "place" is idiomatic, because when Scott says "in and out of places", Liberace seems to immediately understand what he means. I can't seem to find this usage in dictionaries.

  • 1
    That is indeed the inference most people would draw, possibly drug or alcohol rehab as well. May 9, 2018 at 16:05
  • to be in and out of there refers to recidivism/relapse. places is a euphemism for mental institutions or rehab facilities. google.com/… May 9, 2018 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


Places is obviously a euphemism, just because of how non-specific it is. It could be a euphemism for several things. From just this dialogue it sounds like a psychiatric hospital. "She'd have her troubles again" is a fairly typical vague euphemism for mental health problems. However, it could also apply to addiction, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were cases of similar languages being used for more unusual things.

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