I'm wondering what does out of the box mean.

It seems that referring to the features which don't come with the product but as far as I noticed that is used to refer the features which come with the product and I'm confused.

For example

ColdFusion provides a number of additional features out of the box.

What I expected is some extra plug-ins which you can download and install but it seems it means there are additional features in the main application without need of extra tools.

If it is really used to refer to the features which come with the product, I think they should say in the box instead!


1 Answer 1


This expression derives from pre-Present-Day English: that is, before about 1990. I was a kid in those Dark Ages

At that time most desirable products came in what were called "boxes" (containers of processed wood pulp), from which the product had to be removed before use. Some required further "assembly" (attachment of ancillary components).

The expression "out of the box" referred to the state of the product when you removed it from its container.

Products which were already fully "assembled" were said to be ready to run "out of the box".

No assembly required.

NB: A similar phrase was used of products purchased in a "store", a sort of enclosed space where physical products were displayed for purchase with "cash" or "checks" (currency made of processed wood pulp). The products were typically stacked on "shelves" (rectangular surfaces typically made of physically divided trees). The phrase "off the shelf" referred to the state of the product when it was removed from the shelf and placed directly in the purchaser's "hands" (the same physical organs today employed for poking laptop screens). A product which required no further assembly was said to be ready to run "off the shelf".

  • But why? here out means like in ?? Aug 29, 2015 at 23:13
  • @Milad - out here means you can take it out of the box and use it.
    – J.R.
    Aug 30, 2015 at 1:49

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