Right Out Of The Gate

We all know that gates are typically used to keep things in or out. But what connection does this have with the phrase “right out of the gate,” if at all? On this page, we will learn the meaning and origin of this expression, and we’ll unravel the question of what exactly is emerging from the gate and why.

Table of Contents


The phrase “right out of the gate” has a dual meaning. Firstly, it refers to something that happens at the very beginning of an activity, process, or situation. Secondly, it implies that whatever is happening is starting off strongly and with energy. Let’s go over three important points for the meaning of this expression:

What It Means
1. The phrase “right out of the gate” means that something is taking place at the initial outset of an action or situation.
2. It indicates that whatever is occurring is doing so with energy, enthusiasm, and momentum.
3. The expression implies that starting strong and building momentum early on can be beneficial.

Similar: The phrase right out of the gate is similar to “right off the bat.” Both of these sayings refer to some kind of an event that occurs right at the beginning.

Example: When the race started, the athlete stumbled right out of the gate, but he quickly regained his footing. (In other words, he stumbled right away.)

Horses waiting right out of the gate.
Race horses waiting at the starting gate.


If you need an alternative way of saying this idiom, consider using one of these:

1. Right away
2. From the get-go
3. At the outset
4. Right off the bat
5. From the very beginning
6. At the opening bell
7. Off to a flying start
8. Hit the ground running
9. Get off on the right foot

Synonyms for right out of the gate include “right away,” “off to a flying start,” and “from the get-go.” Remember, this phrase has a dual meaning, so some of the synonyms listed may only relate to one aspect of its definition.

Origin Of “Right Out Of The Gate”

What is the origin of this phrase? The expression right out of the gate is believed to come from horse racing. The reason has to do with a handy device known as a “starting gate,” but what does it do exactly?

The purpose of a starting gate is to ensure that all participants begin the race at identical times. To help make this happen, starting gates have doors on them that are designed to open simultaneously. If you take a look at the picture above, you can see what a starting gate looks like. You may have noticed the small spaces that are occupied by horses, and the doors in front to prevent them from starting until the proper time. The phrase likely originates from the fact that as soon as the race begins, the gate doors open and the horses run right out of the gate.

Clay Puett is credited as the person who invented the enclosed electric starting gate. Its first appearance is in the year 1939, and from there it went on to be used in many different race tracks.

Examples and Sentences

Let’s examine a few examples to get a better understanding of how this phrase can be used. Here is the first group of sentences:


1. After waking up from a long night’s sleep, right out of the gate his stomach was growling for food.
2. Both teams came out of the gate with an offensive based style, so this has potential to be a high scoring game.
3. When I walked out the front door, right out of the gate I could feel the bitter cold blowing against my hands and face.

Now here is the second group of sentence examples, but this time we will replace the phrase with a synonym.


1. Despite being new to the job, she was off to a flying start as she quickly learned the skills and knowledge required.
2. The speaker was nervous at the outset of his speech, but he gained confidence as time progressed.
3. As I opened the door to my home, right away my dog ran towards me and jumped up to greet me.