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The following context is from the movie "Eyes Wide Shut" by Stanley Kubrick.

Bill: -Was it the second password?

-Is that what gave me away?

Ziegler:

-Yes, finally.

-But not because you didn't know it.

-It's because there was no second password.

-Of course, it didn't help a whole lot that those people arrive in limos... and you showed up in a taxi.

-Or that they found the receipt from the rental house in your coat...

-made out to you-know-who.

What does it mean to make out a receipt to someone? Does it mean to write up a receipt for a person purchasing something from you with their name on a receipt? The only definition I found is the one below but it's about checks and it says "to write a name of the payee" and in this case, it would be the payer.

"make out" def 5. To write the name of the payee of a check. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "make" and "out." Please make out checks to the school. To whom should I make it out?(source freedictionary)

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    You've answered your own question if you merely transpose check and receipt (, the latter made out to Bill, possibly for the rent). Jun 11, 2022 at 15:41
  • Wait, so does this mean that the name of the person on the receipt from the rental place was the name of the guy who owns the rental shop and not the name of the customer to whom he was renting these items? Jun 11, 2022 at 15:53
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    The receipt stated that 'you know who' had paid money to the business to rent something from them. Jun 11, 2022 at 16:29

2 Answers 2

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You are correct! To make A (e.g. a cheque, a bill, a receipt) out to B (a person) is to write out A to B, or in the name of B. Most commonly we talk about cheques being made out to people who are to receive the money, but bills and receipts can be made out to the people receiving the services as well.

In the context of the quote you provide,

[T]hey found the receipt from the rental house in your coat made out to you-know-who.

means

They found the receipt from the rental house with you-know-who's name on it in your coat.
(or) They found a receipt for you-know-who from the rental house in your coat.

However, hopefully you can see that that the phrase "with you-know-who's name on it" in the first option (does the house have you-know-who's name on it?) while the second doesn't imply that Ziegler knew about the receipt before they found it (which the original sentence seems to (though I haven't seen the movie ;P)). Thus, using the phrase made out resolves ambiguity and lets the line capture more information about Ziegler

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  • George I don't understand. Is "A" and "B" people, "A" being the customer of the rental shop and "b" being the owner of the shop? If yes, "To make A out to B" still doesn't make sense to me because it means " to make a customer out to the owner" . Can you simply say by whom the check is made and whose name is written on the check(the customer or the owner)? Thanks in advance. Jun 11, 2022 at 16:07
  • @StaticBounce Sorry about that, I've made an edit to try to clarify. "A" is the thing that is made out: a document of some sort, usually a cheque or bill. "B" is the person who that document is for: the person receiving the money from the cheque or the person expected to pay the bill.
    – George K.
    Jun 11, 2022 at 16:10
  • Ok, let's try it differently, just give me an answer to this question: Bill is a clerk and he made out a receipt to Frank who is a customer. Does it mean: 1. On the receipt, there is Bill's name. 2. On the receipt, there is Franks's name. Jun 11, 2022 at 19:28
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    @StaticBounce Bill makes out a receipt to Frank. Frank's name is on the receipt.
    – George K.
    Jun 11, 2022 at 20:58
  • @StaticBounce - Suppose Frank Smith pays me £9.99 and asks for a receipt. The simplest way I could do this is to get a piece of paper and write the date, and then "Received from Frank Smith the sum of £9.99", and sign my name underneath. I give it to him. I have now 'made out' a receipt to Frank Smith. In a business such as a shop, they might have pads of printed forms with each blank receipt numbered, and a space for the reason for the payment, whether it was cash or a cheque, etc. Of course in modern times receipts are often printed by machines, especially with card payments. Jun 12, 2022 at 7:03
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to make out a receipt or to make out a check

MEANS

to write the name of the person to whom you are giving the receipt or check in the appropriate space.

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