Zone out



zone out

noun

(also zoner) A person intoxicated with narcotics, esp habitually so; space cadet (1960s+ Narcotics)

verb

To be inattentive; be hazily preoccupied: He zoned so bad he didn’t even hear the teacher call his name/ I was kind of zonin’, checking things out (1980s+)

[fr ozone, ”a very high level of the atmosphere”]
Contemporary Examples

You zone out until what I’m trying to convey reaches critical mass, and then kaboom, and I’m the bad guy, and bye- bye messenger.
Dr. Scarpetta Heads to Psych Ward Daily Beast Promotions February 22, 2009

After several hours of testimony explaining his calculations, some jurors seemed to zone out.
Is the Edwards Defense Team Losing It? Diane Dimond May 15, 2012

Stop paying attention, dissociate oneself from a situation. Also, engage in a mindless activity. For example, When Felicia starts talking about her ailments and her friends’ ailments, I totally zone out. This idiom also occurs in the passive, be zoned out. It originally alluded to narcotic intoxication and then was broadened to other kinds of dissociation. For a near synonym, see tune out, def. 2. [ ; second half of 1900s ]

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