send away for: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘send away for’ mean?

The idiom "send away for" means to order something by mail or online. It suggests that the person cannot obtain the item locally and needs to request it from somewhere else.

Idiom Explorer

Decoding Mail Order

The idiom "send away for" is commonly used in American English and has a specific meaning. Here are the facts about this idiom:

The idiom "send away for" is a phrasal verb that consists of the verb "send" and the preposition "away." It is often used together as a compound verb. The idiom is typically used when someone wants to obtain something by mail order. When using the idiom, the subject of the sentence sends a request or an order to a specific location or company, usually for a product, service, or information. The object of the verb is usually the specific item or information that the subject is requesting.

The idiom suggests a sense of distance or separation, as the item being ordered is physically located elsewhere and needs to be transported to the requester. For example, if someone wants to purchase a rare book that is not available locally, they might decide to send away for it. In this case, the person would send a request to a bookstore or online retailer to have the book shipped to their address.

The idiom can also imply a sense of anticipation or excitement, as the requester must wait for the item to be delivered. This is especially true in cases where the item being ordered is something highly anticipated or desired. For instance, if someone is a fan of a particular musician and wants to buy their latest album, they may choose to send away for it. The person would send a request or order to the record company to have the album shipped to their home, eagerly awaiting its arrival.

The idiom "send away for" is commonly used in informal or colloquial contexts, such as everyday conversations, but can also be used in more formal writing. Its usage is not restricted to any particular social or age group, as it is a widely recognized and understood phrase. This versatility allows for the idiom to be used in various situations, from casual chats with friends to professional emails or letters.

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Now, let's explore how the idiom "send away for" is related to other idioms:

1. "Send away": This idiomatic expression refers to sending someone or something away, usually with the purpose of removing them from a particular place or situation. Unlike "send away for," which involves requesting or ordering, "send away" focuses on physically removing or relocating someone or something. For example, if a child misbehaves in class, the teacher might decide to send them away to the principal's office for a time-out.

2. "send for a toss": This idiomatic phrase is used to describe a situation or plan that goes completely wrong or fails to achieve the desired outcome. It implies that something has been thrown or discarded, suggesting a loss or failure. Unlike "send away for," which involves a deliberate action of requesting or ordering, "send for a toss" focuses on the unexpected outcome of a situation. For instance, if someone plans a picnic and it starts raining heavily, their plans can be said to have sent for a toss.

3. "mail it in": This idiomatic expression is often used in the context of performance or effort, indicating that someone is not putting in their best or is being lazy and uninspired. It suggests that someone is not fully engaged or committed to what they are doing. Unlike "send away for," which involves requesting or ordering, "mail it in" focuses on the quality or lack thereof in someone's work or performance. For example, if an actor is known for their exceptional performances but delivers a lackluster one, critics might say they just "mailed it in."

4. "parcel out": This idiomatic phrase means to divide something into smaller parts or portions and distribute them separately. Unlike "send away for," which involves requesting or ordering, "parcel out" focuses on the act of dividing and distributing. It can be used in various contexts, such as dividing tasks among team members or distributing food among guests. For instance, if a teacher wants to assign different sections of a group project to students, they might decide to parcel it out to ensure equal distribution of work.

Based on these related idioms, we can see that "send away for" has a distinct focus on requesting or ordering something through mail order, while the other idioms have different nuances and meanings. "Send away" emphasizes physical removal or relocation, "send for a toss" highlights the unexpected failure or outcome, "mail it in" suggests a lack of effort or commitment, and "parcel out" focuses on dividing and distributing something. Each of these idioms brings its own unique meaning and usage to the English language.

While the facts about the idiom "send away for" provide a comprehensive understanding of its meaning and usage, there is always room for further exploration. The idiom's etymology, historical usage, and possible variations or regional differences could be subjects of further investigation. Additionally, the impact of technological advancements and online shopping on the idiom's usage in modern times could also be explored. Therefore, although this analysis has provided an in-depth look into the idiom "send away for," it is important to acknowledge the potential for new findings and interpretations in the future.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "send away for" can be used in a sentence:

  1. She sent away for a catalog to browse through different clothing options.
  2. He sent away for a free sample of the new perfume before deciding to purchase it.
  3. They sent away for a brochure to learn more about the vacation packages available.

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