Community Web Version Now Available
What does "work out of trunks" mean? In order to save money, Hetty would work out of trunks at her local bank so she wouldn’t have to pay rent. I suppose she worked very hard. In Russian we have an expression "jump out of the trousers", which means "try very hard". Are they similar? I would also appreciate it if you could correct my notebook entry
Jan 26, 2016 11:36 AM
Answers · 5
This is a strange sentence. "Working out of trunks" is NOT an English idiom or expression. I googled the context (it's a passage from "The Ultimate Book of Top Ten Lists"), and it still seemed strange to me as a native speaker. In order to understand, I had to look up "Hetty Green" on Wikipedia, which explains in more detail as follows: "Green conducted much of her business at the offices of the Seaboard National Bank in New York, surrounded by trunks and suitcases full of her papers; she did not want to pay rent for her own office." What this means is that Hetty Green would take all of her business paperwork, literally stick them in suitcases, and sit in the lobby of a local bank in order to do all her business. In this manner, she avoided having to pay rent for an office. This is extremely surprising, given that Hetty Green was one of the richest people in the world at the time. Working out of trunks does not mean she worked very hard.
January 26, 2016
This is a phrase that has been retired I believe. I have never encountered it and the phrase seems to come from over a hundred years ago. You would never use it in modern conversation and if you did you are unlikely to be understood.
January 26, 2016
This is not an idiom as I know. It literally means working out of your trunk. The trunk of your car to save space and money on office supplies. Or mabey a trunk as a peice of luggage stored at the bank to avoid the fee for storing it somewhere else.
January 27, 2016
Language Skills
English, Italian, Lithuanian, Russian
Learning Language
English, Italian, Lithuanian