Are "ruled out" and "out of the question" synonymous?

For example, are the sentences Eating fish is ruled out and Eating fish is out of the question equivalent?


Let's say you're investigating a murder scene. There's a kitchen knife nearby but the body has no stab wound. It has a bullet hole though.

Possible causes of death:

  1. Kissed to death
  2. Stabbed to death
  3. Shot dead

Cause (1) is out of the question. It's so ridiculous that you wouldn't even consider it a real possibility.

Cause (2) is a possible cause of death. However, because there's no evidence of stabbing, you rule it out. Therefore, "stabbed to death" is ruled out. It was an option, but removed due to provided evidence and circumstances.

Of course, I'll leave the rest of the investigation to you. I just killed that guy for the sake of explaining the phrases.

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They have different, although slightly similar meanings. When you have a bunch of options to achieve a goal and you write off some of them, you would say you ruled them out. Out of the question has a more strong opposition to an alternative, which makes that option even unworthy of consideration or pondering.

Imagine you landed on a secluded island with a few of your friends and you are trying to survive. Your options are to go and pick some fruits, or do some angling and eat fish. You find out you don't have your fishing rod with yourself, so eating fish is ruled out. Your friend also suggests that you can also go and hunt rodents in the jungle and eat them (Ewwww). You respond to him that this is disgusting and out of the question, and you ask him to not bring it up ever again.

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