1

A band NOFX has a song named "All Outta Angst".

In my understanding, "outta" (out of) has several usages, including: "derived from" and "free from".

  • All these are derived from my [current] angst [that may remain now]
  • Now that I'm free from angst, I have no fear of anything.

Which interpretation of in the above usage is more appropriate for the meaning of the song? Is there any rule of thumb for distinction, or should I end up with judging from the context?

Edit: Although started from the lyrics, now the main interest of this question is not only about the lyrics, but also about how to interpret this kind of usage in general.

14
  • With a title, (which is normally short) there may be multiple meanings or none. My guess would be "I don't have any more angst" but there is no way to be sure. It may be deliberate word play. It might be an You'll have to judge from context. And more importantly You don't need to know the meaning. For many songs, the meaning of he title is not understood by anyone except the songwriter.
    – James K
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 6:30
  • 1
    @JamesK In general, surely, if you are all outta (all out of) something, you previously had some, but the supply is now exhausted? Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 9:08
  • 2
    Questions about interpreting song lyrics belong in Literature SE.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 10:40
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because it's about lyrics interpretation of a phrase that has no currency (and hence no "unambiguously established" meaning) Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 13:44
  • 1
    @ŌHARAKazutaka The answerers have already covered the correct interpretation in this case, but I'd just like to add that there is a reliable way of differentiating this meaning of the phrase from the other usage you're thinking of. When "all outta" or "all out of" has the meaning that something has been used up (and is now gone), the phrase functions as an adjective: it modifies a noun (e.g., refers to an entity such as a person or a store). When "all outta"/"all out of" has the meaning of arising from/occasioned by, Commented Mar 14 at 4:05

2 Answers 2

4

All outta [something] is an "eye dialect" spelling for "all out of" [something]. That is, there is none of it remaining. The stock or supply has been completely depleted.

If you go into a bakery in New York and the baker says "We're all outta bread", it means all of the loaves of bread are gone. (It may be a very good and therefore very popular bakery and always sells every loaf.)

"all outta" does not mean "free of" or "free from". If there's an infestation of lice in the public library and a pest control company takes steps to rid the library of lice, we wouldn't say "The library is all outta lice" when the lice are gone. An infestation of lice is not a "supply" of lice.

To use the phrase of something like "worry" or "anxiety" or "angst" is therefore a figurative use that treats those emotional states metaphorically as a commodity that can be depleted.

3
  • 1
    You're quite right. I've retracted my closevote. I suppose we could say that "angst" is the "stock-in-trade" of a certain class of musicians. Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 14:04
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers - w-angst-ers? Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 9:47
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers That pun was criminal.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 11:36
3

One thing's for sure

I'm all outta angst

Society don't bother me

And there's something wrong with that

The actual lyrics include the full phrase "I'm all outta angst", which clearly shows that it's the singer that's all outta angst - that is, no longer has any angst to spare for the society. So it's the latter interpretation that's more applicable here - although rather than "having no fear", the singer seems more concerned about his apathy.

1
  • 1
    You are straying into "lyric interpretation territory" when you say "no longer has any angst to spare for society" and "the singer seems more concerned about his apathy".
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 13:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .