Make Out – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Do you see people getting a little close with each other in public? Maybe you want to convey that your situation is going one way or the other. Well, the phrase “make out” is a great way to express both sentiments with the same words. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


Make out is a casual term that is used in reference to physical affection. This slang term can relate to kissing, hugging, cuddling, or even mild sexual foreplay. Petting, necking, and flirting are also common meanings of the phrase “make out” or “making out”. While this is the most common meaning of the phrase, there are other meanings as well.

Make out can also mean to refer to how someone is doing or to give a status update on a person or project. For example, saying that you making out okay is the same as saying that you are doing alright. Using it to provide status or request a status update is the second most common usage.

Example Usage

“I love making out with Jeremy behind the bleachers”.

“Did you see that couple making out on the jumbotron? It was really cute!”

“It is not appropriate to make out during a business lunch even if you guys are married”.

“Try to avoid a make-out session when we go to the movies this time, I don’t want to get kicked out”.


The phrase makes out is a slang term that can be traced back to 1949 in America. It is used to express the act of kissing, French kissing, necking, or other forms of heavy affection. Parking is another term that means make out, though the parties must be in a vehicle during the act. Though the PDA-style meaning of the phrase became popular in 1949, the sexual aspect of it started to change in the mid-30s to 40s. It used to me to seduce or to succeed.

The petting style of foreplay became popular in 1920. In fact, there were petting parties during the Victorian era. As promiscuity become more common, so did the instances of public petting. As colleges and intersex mingling become more widespread, so did the notion of casual flirting and public affection. Once the 50s rolled around, the act of petting was heralded as the origination of modern-day make-out sessions. Petting and making out became accepted in mainstream America during the postwar era.

The phrase makes out refers to getting by, or providing a status update has been around even longer. This phrase really picked up steam during the days of the great depression, though it was used even earlier.

Phrases Similar to Make Out

  • PDA
  • Get it on
  • How I’m doing
  • Managing
  • Making do
  • Lovey-dovey

Phrases Opposite to Make Out

  • Falling short
  • Waning
  • Chaste
  • Conservative
  • Unaffectionate

What is the Correct Saying?

  • The proper saying is – make out.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Make Out

There are two main meanings of the phrase make out, so using them in context is critical. That being said, many people make simple mistakes when using the phrase. Some ways that Make Out is used incorrectly are:

  • I don’t think that it will be right to make out well when so many people are not able to even scrape by.
  • Those two are making out okay although I don’t think PDA is really appropriate at the mall.
  • I am not sure what to make out of this set of directions, it is not very clear on taking a left or following the curve.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Make Out

Some ways that Make Out is used correctly are:

  • We have been making out alright even though there is a nationwide recession.
  • Look at that old couple on the bench over there, they probably waited a lifetime to make out in front of the Eiffel Tower.
  • What are you making out with him for? He is not even cute and he has a girlfriend.
  • Are you making out okay? I know times have been tough since John got in the accident.

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