a baffling term used to indicate unavailability, although the nature or owner of said pocket remains unknown; perhaps developed through mistaken conflation of ‘out of town’ with the standard phrase ‘out of pocket,’ which indicates expenses borne personally; in a business context the propensity to avoid simple, perfectly serviceable words like ‘unavailable’ or ‘unreachable’ that could connote a lack of team spirit has further driven usage of this term; a competing school of thought contends that this phrase has its roots in American football, when the quarterback leaves the area of protection afforded by his linesmen, though there is scant evidence to support this etymology 1

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  1. Confusion over the derivation of this term is widespread, with other speculative origins abounding on the internet, although none are definitive. It is noted as as a regionalism in parts of the Southern United States and has been attested in print as early as 1908, placing it among the limited examples of jargon that was not conjured up de novo by business types.