drop out


General English


  • noun the failure of a small piece of tape or disk to be correctly magnetised for the accurate storage of data

Media Studies

  • noun a broadcasting situation in which a video feed is lost or distorted because of poor reception, faulty tape or a faulty playback machine


  • noun
    (written as drop-out)
    someone who has opted out of society. In this sense the word and the concept date from the late 1960s when hippies renounced capitalism, the education system, etc. to form an ‘alternative society’. The term was quickly picked up by the press and others who disapproved and it became a pejorative description. In the USA in the 1950s and early 1960s drop out was used to refer specifically to those who had left full-time education before graduating from high school.
  • verb to withdraw from conventional society, opt out. The motto of the hippy movement, coined by Dr Timothy leary in 1967, was ‘turn on, tune in, and drop out’ (take drugs and/or become enlightened; make contact with like-minded people or the life force; and leave society behind). The phrase survives in the specific sense of abandon one’s education.