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JUNE 17, 2008 | To be beside oneself



What does the term "She was beside herself" mean?

To be beside oneself means "to be very emotional", and to let those emotions show. To be "beside oneself" implies that the emotions are almost out of control. This doesn't always imply negative emotions, - the term is often used in the context of "She was beside herself with anger" (She was very angry and emotional) or "He was beside himself with grief" (He was grieving very emotionally), but can also be used in positive phrases like "She was beside herself with joy when she saw her baby." Notice that in all of the examples above, the word "with" is used to specify WHICH emotion is being displayed. If you use the phrase "She was beside herself" without "WITH" - it just means she was very emotional (in general).

The phrase is said to date back to the times of Ancient Greece, when it was believed that during very emotional times, the soul leaves the body and is therefore "beside" it.

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