make out

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make out (third-person singular simple present makes out, present participle making out, simple past and past participle made out)

  1. (transitive) To draw up (a document etc.), to designate (a cheque) to a given recipient, payee. [from 15th c.]
    Cheques may be made out to the Foo Bar Company.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To send out. [16th–17th c.]
  3. (transitive) To discern; to manage to see, hear etc. [from 16th c.]
    In the distance, I could just make out a shadowy figure.
    • August 16 2014, Daniel Taylor, "Swansea upstage Manchester United in Louis van Gaal’s Premier League bow,"
      There was a startling lack of creativity and if Van Gaal had listened closely he would have made out the mocking chants from the away end, as the visiting fans embarked on the repertoire of songs that formed the soundtrack to David Moyes’s time in the job.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, chapter 4, in Moonfleet, London, Toronto, Ont.: Jonathan Cape, published 1934:
      Though nothing of the vault except the roof was visible from where I lay, and so I could not see these visitors, yet I heard every word spoken, and soon made out one voice as being Master Ratsey's.
  4. (now chiefly US, regional, intransitive) To manage, get along; to do (well, badly etc.). [from 17th c.]
    Oh, you were on a TV game show? How did you make out?
    • 1931, Hart Crane, letter, 5 June:
      Regarding money—I shall economize and make out probably very well from now on—without any outside help.
    • 1951, John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids:
      'Will this little shack serve – or do we go further?' I asked.
      'Oh, I guess we'll make out,' she said. And together we waded through the delicate cream carpet to explore.
  5. (transitive, intransitive) To represent; to make (something) appear to be true. [from 17th c.]
    His version of the story makes me out to be the bad guy.
    • 2002, Meg Cabot, All-American Girl, 2003 Harper Trophy paperback edition, →ISBN, page 134:
      She hadn't invited me to a party at her house since the third grade, and here she was, making out like we'd never stopped being friends.
  6. (slang, chiefly US, intransitive) To embrace and kiss passionately. [from 20th c.]
    We found a secluded spot where we could make out in private.
  7. (slang, chiefly US, intransitive) To engage in heavy petting or sexual intercourse. [from 20th c.]


Derived terms[edit]


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