Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English outgon, from Old English ūtgān (to go out), from Proto-Germanic *ūt + *gāną (to go out), equivalent to out- +‎ go. Cognate with Scots outgae (to go out, depart), Dutch uitgaan, German ausgehen, Swedish utgå.



outgo (third-person singular simple present outgoes, present participle outgoing, simple past outwent, past participle outgone)

  1. (poetic) To go out, to set forth.
  2. (archaic) To go further; to exceed or surpass; go beyond.
  3. To overtake; to travel faster than.
    • 1679, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, Part I, Section 5:
      What, shall we talk farther with him, or outgo him at present, and so leave him to think of what he hath heard already, and then stop again for him afterwards, and see if by degrees we can do any good to him?
    • 1889, William Morris, The House of the Wolfings, Ch.XX:
      Ever he gazed earnestly on the main battle of the Romans, and what they were doing, and presently it became clear to him that they would outgo him and come to the ford, and then he wotted well that they would set on him just when their light-armed were on his flank and his rearward, and then it would go hard but they would break their array and all would be lost: therefore he slacked his pace and went very slowly and the Romans went none the slower for that; [].
  4. To outdo; exceed; surpass.
    • c.1633, George Herbert, The Reprisal, from The Temple:
      Ah! was it not enough that thou / By thy eternal glory didst outgo me?
    • 1808, Walter Scott, Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field, Canto First:
      Danger, long travel, want, or woe, / Soon change the form that best we know- / For deadly fear can time outgo, / And blanch at once the hair;
    • 1836, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, Ch.5:
      When much intercourse with a friend has supplied us with a standard of excellence, and has increased our respect for the resources of God who thus sends a real person to outgo our ideal; [].
    • 1876, Herman Melville, Clarel, Part 4, Canto 30: The Valley of Decision:
      "Ye do outgo / Mad Korah. Boy, this is the Dale / Of Doom, God's last assizes; so, / Curb thee; even if sharp grief assail, / Respect these precincts lest thou know / An ill."

Alternative forms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


outgo (countable and uncountable, plural outgos or outgoes)

  1. The act or process of going out.
    • 1913, Kate Douglas Wiggin, Penelope's Experiences in Scotland, 2008 Gutenberg eBook edition,
      Once again, after establishing an equally obvious fact, I succeeded in wringing from her the reluctant admission, "It depends," but she was so shattered by the bulk and force of this outgo, so fearful that in some way she had imperilled her life or reputation, so anxious concerning the effect that her unwilling testimony might have upon unborn generations, that she was of no real service the rest of the day.
    • 1914, George Washington Cable, Gideon's Band: A Tale of the Mississippi, 2006 Gutenberg eBook edition, VIII: Questions,
      The stately Votaress, with her towering funnels lost in the upper night, was running well inshore under a point, wrapped in a world-wide silence broken only by the placid outgo of her own vast breath, the soft rush of her torrential footsteps far below, and the answering rustle of the nearer shore.
    • 1920, Henry Ford, The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, Chapter 2: Germany's Reaction Against the Jew,
      The war companies were exclusively Jewish, and although the government attempted to regulate the outgo of food in the interests of all the people, it became notorious that those with money could get all of anything they wanted, regardless of the food cards.
    • 1949, Robert H. Jackson, Supreme Court of the United States, United States v. Women's Sportswear Manufacturing Association: Opinion of the Court,
      Thus the industry in Massachusetts subsists on a constant influx of cloth and outgo of garments which pass through the hands of the stitching contractors for an essential operation.
  2. A quantity of a substance or thing that has flowed out; an outflow.
    • 1903, H. W. Conn, The Story of the Living Machine, 2005 Gutenberg eBook edition,
      Estimates of the solids, liquids, and gases given off from his body must be obtained, for to carry out the experiment an exact balance must be made between the income and the outgo.
    • 1912, Linda Burfield Hazzard, Fasting for the Cure of Disease,
      And the arms of the scale of intake and outgo must likewise remain at level, and they do so maintain balance in health.
  3. (business, commerce) an expenditure, cost or outlay.