Meaning of “out” in the English Dictionary

"out" in British English

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outadverb, preposition

uk /aʊt/ us /aʊt/

out adverb, preposition (AWAY FROM INSIDE)

B1 used to show movement away from the inside of a place or container:

She opened the window and stuck her head out.
The bag broke and the apples fell out.
I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs.
He leaned out the window.
He opened the drawer and took out a pair of socks.
Get out!
Out you go! (= Go out!)
My secretary will see you out (= go with you to the door).
Turn the trousers inside out (= put the inside on the outside).

More examples

  • Don't go out with wet hair - you might catch a chill.
  • He'd been chucked out of a club for fighting.
  • You can come out now, the coast is clear.
  • She smacked her books down on the table and stormed out of the room.
  • I'm just going out for a bit. See you later.

out adverb, preposition (OUTSIDE)

outside a building or room:

If you wait out here, we will call you when the doctor is ready.
Danger! Keep out! (= Do not enter!)
It's bitterly cold out, today.

More examples

  • The weather had conspired to ruin their day out.
  • They had to sleep out after they forgot their tent.
  • If you hang your clothes out in the bright sun, they will fade.
  • Without a sleeping bag, you would freeze to death out there on the mountainside.
  • The most common parental admonition must surely be "Don't stay out late!"

out adverb, preposition (ABSENT)

A2 absent for a short time from the place where you live or work:

I came around to see you this morning, but you were out.
Someone called while you were out.

A2 used to refer to a period of time when someone goes away from home for a social activity:

I can't go out tonight - I have work to do.
Do you want to eat out (= eat in a restaurant) tonight?
He asked me out (= asked me to go with him) to the cinema next week.

used to refer to a time when someone is away from the main office in order to do a particular job:

The thieves were spotted by a postman out on his rounds (= as he was delivering the post).
The police were out in force (= there were a lot of police) at the demonstration.

In a library, if a book is out, it has been borrowed by someone:

Both copies of "Wuthering Heights" were out.

More examples

  • I was out when the postman came.
  • I'll be out all afternoon.
  • I tried to ring him, but he always seems to be out.
  • They broke in while he was out playing football.
  • Don't come round later - I'll probably be out.

out adverb, preposition (DISAPPEAR)

B1 to the point where something is removed or disappears:

The stain won't come out.
Cross out any words that are not on the list.
Never use water to put out fires in electrical equipment.
out of

B2 used to say that no more of something is available:

We're nearly out of petrol.
I'm running out of patience/time/money.
See also

More examples

  • My patience is beginning to run out.
  • If you think it's wrong, cross it out and write it again.
  • Did you put the lights out downstairs?
  • I've chucked out all my old clothes.
  • Since my heart attack, I've cut fatty foods out altogether.

out adverb, preposition (DEFEATED)

(in sport) no longer able to play because your turn is over:

Two of the best players on the team were out after ten minutes.
New Zealand were all out for 246 (= the team finished with a score of 246).

(in politics) no longer able to govern because you have lost an election:

The Social Democrats were voted out after 15 years in power.

More examples

  • Hick was out for 56 just before lunch.
  • The last batsman was out with the team still 34 runs short of victory.
  • Australia were all out for 278 in their second innings.
  • Vaughan was given out lbw for 42.
  • Stewart made 46 before he was out.

out adverb, preposition (GIVE)

to many people:

The teacher gave out test books to all the students.
Greenpeace sent a letter out to all its supporters.

More examples

  • Some software can be configured to prevent children from giving out their phone numbers on the internet.
  • By giving out printed sheets of facts and theories, the teachers spoon-fed us with what we needed for the exam.
  • The clinic gives out free condoms.
  • We sent out the wedding invitations about three weeks ago.
  • He gave out a questionnaire at the end of the meeting.

out adverb, preposition (MOVE AWAY)

spreading out from a central point over a wider area:

More examples

  • The stone she threw caused ripples to spread out across the lake.
  • The wake spread out in a v-shape behind the ship.
  • From our lofty vantage point, we could see the city spread out below us.
  • The repayments on the loan can be spread out over three years.
  • The dough spreads out as you roll it.

out adverb, preposition (AVAILABLE)

B1 When a book, magazine, film, or musical recording is out, it is available to the public:

Is her new book out yet?
The new movie comes out in August.

More examples

  • Her latest novel is out at the end of the month.
  • How did you manage to get a copy of that book? It's not out yet!
  • I can't wait for his latest movie to come out.
  • Her new album is out just in time for Christmas.
  • Hundreds of new magazines come out every year.

out adverb, preposition (APPEAR)

B1 able to be seen:

The stars are out tonight.
The rain stopped and the sun came out (= appeared).
In spring all the flowers came out (= their petals opened).

More examples

  • The clouds finally parted and the sun came out.
  • The morning mist had lifted and the sun was starting to come out.
  • The rash had come out all over her forearm.
  • Let's go while the sun's out.
  • The sun came out and thawed the ice.

out adverb, preposition (VERY)

used to make the meaning of a word stronger:

We walked all day and were tired out (= very tired) by the time we got home.
It's up to you to sort this out (= deal with it completely).

More examples

  • Leave it to me - I'll sort it out tomorrow.
  • Try not to get worked up , I'm sure we can sort the problem out.
  • You must be tired out after all that driving - why don't you have a little sleep?

out adverb, preposition (LOUD)

used with verbs describing sounds to emphasize the loudness of the sound:

He cried out in pain as he hit his head.
Charlie Chaplin films always make me laugh out loud.

More examples

  • They looked at the picture and laughed out loud.
  • Oh, for crying out loud, why won't you listen to me!
  • Ken screamed out a warning telling people to get out of the way.
  • I had this sudden impulse to shout out "Rubbish!" in the middle of her speech.
  • A cry of warning rang out.

out adverb, preposition (FAR AWAY)

C2 a long distance away from land, a town, or your own country:

The fishing boats were out at sea for three days.
They live out in the country, miles from anywhere.
He lived out in Zambia for seven years.
mainly US The weather's better out west (= a long distance away in the west of the country).

More examples

  • She lived out in Australia for a long time.
  • Helen lived out in Oregon for two years before moving back east.
  • She could see the sailing boats way out on the horizon.
  • He lives out in the suburbs.
  • They moved out to the countryside after ten years in the city.

out adverb, preposition (COAST)

away from the coast or beach:

Is the tide coming in or going out?
You can only see the beach when the tide is out.

More examples

  • At what time does the tide start to go out?
  • The sea level is 5 metres lower when the tide is out.
  • Cows graze on the marshes when the tide is out.
  • At about three o'clock, the tide started to go out.
  • The boats will put (out) to sea on this evening's high tide.

out adverb, preposition (MADE PUBLIC)

(of information) no longer kept secret:

You can't hide your gambling any longer - the secret's out.

If a gay person comes out, they tell people that they are gay, and do not keep it a secret:

She came out three years ago.
He hasn't come out to his family yet.

More examples

  • When the truth came out, there was public outrage.
  • After her death, it came out that she'd lied about her age.
  • The basic facts of the story are out, but the details are still fuzzy.
  • It's too late, the rumours are out now.
  • Shocking revelations about their private life came out in the Sunday papers.

out adverb, preposition (SPORT)

(of a ball in a sport such as tennis) landing outside one of the lines that mark the area where the game is played:

He thought the ball had bounced on the line, but the umpire said it was out.

More examples

  • The umpire overruled the line judge who had called the ball out.
  • The referee judged that the ball had gone out before the player crossed it.
  • His second serve landed out, giving his opponent two match points.
  • You should have left that ball. It was going out.
  • The ball was just out.

out adverb, preposition (UNCONSCIOUS)

unconscious or sleeping:

He passes out (= loses consciousness) at the sight of blood.
I was hit on the head, and I must have been out cold (= completely unconscious) for about ten minutes.

More examples

  • She passed out when she heard the news.
  • I couldn't hold my breath for that long without passing out.
  • It was so hot in the room, I thought I was going to pass out.
  • She hit her head on the ceiling and knocked herself out.
  • The sleeping tablets knocked him out for 18 hours.

out adverb, preposition (INTEND)

out for sth/to do sth informal

doing something, or intending to do something, for an unpleasant reason or only because it is good for you and not others:

She doesn't usually help the charity - she's only out for the publicity.
[ + to infinitive ] He's always been out to cause trouble between us.
See also

outverb [ T often passive ]

uk /aʊt/ us /aʊt/

to publish the fact that a famous person is gay, especially when that person does not want it to be known:

Hardly a week went by without someone famous being outed.


uk /aʊt/ us /aʊt/


uk /aʊt-/ us /aʊt-/

(Definition of “out” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"out" in American English

See all translations

outpreposition, adverb [ not gradable ]

us /ɑʊt/

out preposition, adverb [ not gradable ] (FROM INSIDE)

from within to a place or position that is not inside a building or not enclosed or contained:

I’m going out for a walk.
He leaned out the window and waved.
Our office looks out on a public park.

out preposition, adverb [ not gradable ] (AWAY)

away or absent from your home or place of work:

I’ll be out tomorrow.
Leo went out to lunch .
We often eat out (= at restaurants).
Bill asked me out (= to go somewhere enjoyable together).

If something is out, it is not where it is usually kept or belongs:

I checked at the library and that book is out.

out preposition, adverb [ not gradable ] (FROM A PLACE)

away from a place or starting point, or far away:

They moved out to the country.
Have you sent out the invitations yet?

outadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ɑʊt/

out adverb [ not gradable ] (BEYOND)

in the area beyond a building or room, or outdoors (= not in a building):

It’s cold out today.
They camped out.
Keep out (= Do not enter).

out adverb [ not gradable ] (REMOVED)

to the point where something is removed or disappears:

The stain on my tie won’t come out.
Cross out the second number.

out adverb [ not gradable ] (COMPLETELY)

completely, or as much as possible:

She stretched out on the bed.
We were tired out.

out adverb [ not gradable ] (ALOUD)

aloud, so other people can hear:

Her mother called out to us.

outadjective, adverb [ not gradable ]

us /ɑʊt/

out adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (AVAILABLE)

(esp. of a book, movie, or recording) available to the public:

Is his new novel out yet?

out adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (MADE KNOWN)

made known to the public:

The secret’s out about her retirement.

out adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (SEEN)

able to be seen:

It stopped raining and the sun came out.

out adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (NOT OPERATING)

no longer operating or working:

The electricity went out during the storm.

If something that burns is out, it is no longer burning:

Be sure the fire is out.

out adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (NOT AWARE)

unconscious, sleeping, or not aware:

Matt was so tired, he’s out cold (= in a deep sleep).

out adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (COMPLETELY USED)

(coming) into a condition in which something has been used and no more of it is left:

Our money ran out.
His luck was running out.
Renew your membership before the month is out.

out adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (NOT FASHIONABLE)

infml not fashionable or popular:

Long hair is out.

outadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ɑʊt/

out adjective [ not gradable ] (NOT ACCEPTABLE)

not acceptable, not possible, or not allowed:

Thursday is out so let’s meet Friday.

out adjective [ not gradable ] (INTENDING)

infml intending to do or get something:

He’s just out for a good time.
The mayor is out to get some publicity.

out adjective [ not gradable ] (BASEBALL)

failing or having failed to reach a base:

He was out on a close play at second base.


us /ɑʊt/

out noun (EXCUSE)

[ C usually sing ] infml an excuse or reason for avoiding an unpleasant situation:

The kids need to get home, so we have an out if we need it.

(Definition of “out” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"out" in Business English

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uk /aʊt/ us

WORKPLACE away from the main office, etc. in order to do a particular job:

She is out on a service call, but will be back in about an hour.

WORKPLACE absent from the place where you work:

He is out of the office right now.
I will be out for the rest of the morning.
He has been out sick all week.

available for the public to buy:

A new version of this phone has just come out.

not working:

The power has been out for two hours.

not accurate:

Our estimates were only out by a few dollars.
Those sales figures were way out.

also out on strike HR, WORKPLACE taking part in a strike (= refusing to work):

The assembly workers have been out for a month.
Union members voted unanimously to go out on strike.
out of action

not able to be used:

The elevators were out of action and we had to walk up to his office.
out of sth

if you are out of something, you do not have it:

We're completely out of toner for the printer.

from a particular group:

Four out of five broadband users don't know how fast their connections are.
out of the box

if something can be used out of the box, it can be used immediately, without a lot of effort being needed to prepare it:

These solutions work straight out of the box.
an out-of-the-box training program

(Definition of “out” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)