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  • IPA(key): /laʊt/
  • (Canada) IPA(key): /lʌʊt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊt

Etymology 1[edit]

Of dialectal origin, likely from Middle English louten (to bow, bend low, stoop over) from Old English lutian from Proto-Germanic *lutōną. Cognate with Old Norse lútr (stooping), Gothic 𐌻𐌿𐍄𐍉𐌽 (lutōn, to deceive). Non-Germanic cognates are probably Old Church Slavonic лоудити (luditi, to deceive)[1], Serbo-Croatian lud and Albanian lut (to beg, pray).


lout (plural louts)

  1. A troublemaker, often violent; a rude violent person; a yob.
    • 1906, Stanley J[ohn] Weyman, chapter I, in Chippinge Borough, New York, N.Y.: McClure, Phillips & Co., OCLC 580270828, page 01:
      But the lout looked only to his market, and was not easily repulsed. ¶ "He's there, I tell you," he persisted. "And for threepence I'll get you to see him. Come on, your honour! It's many a Westminster election I've seen, and beer running, from Mr. Fox, [] when maybe it's your honour's going to stand! Anyway, it's down with the mongers!"
    • 1934, George Orwell, Burmese Days:
      You see louts fresh from school kicking grey-haired servants.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:troublemaker
  2. A clownish, awkward fellow; a bumpkin.
    • c. 1570–1586, Sidney, Sir Philip, “Book I”, in The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia:
      The fair Pamela, whose noble heart I find doth greatly disdain, that the trust of her virtue is reposed in such a lout's hands, as Dametas, had yet, to shew an obedience, taken on shepherdish apparel []
    • c. 1589–1593, Shakespeare, William, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4:
      Sebastian, I have entertained thee, / Partly that I have need of such a youth / That can with some discretion do my business, / For 'tis no trusting to yond foolish lout;
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:bumpkin
Derived terms[edit]


lout (third-person singular simple present louts, present participle louting, simple past and past participle louted)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To treat as a lout or fool; to neglect; to disappoint.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English louten, from Old English lūtan, from Proto-Germanic *lūtaną. Cognate with Old Norse lúta, Danish lude (to bend), Norwegian lute (stoop), Swedish luta.


lout (third-person singular simple present louts, present participle louting, simple past and past participle louted)

  1. (intransitive, archaic) To bend, bow, stoop.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.i:
      He faire the knight saluted, louting low, / Who faire him quited, as that courteous was [...].
    • 1885, Sir Richard Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, vol. 1:
      He took the cup in his hand and, louting low, returned his best thanks [...].


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “lout”, in Online Etymology Dictionary