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[rout] /raʊt/
verb (used without object)
to root:
pigs routing in the garden.
to poke, search, or rummage.
verb (used with object)
to turn over or dig up (something) with the snout.
to find or get by searching, rummaging, etc. (usually followed by out).
to cause to rise from bed (often followed by up or out).
to force or drive out.
to hollow out or furrow, as with a scoop, gouge, or machine.
Origin of rout2
1540-50; alteration of root2; compare Middle Dutch ruten to root out Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rout out
Historical Examples
  • “And I know too much for them to let me go and bring a few of our lads to rout out their nest,” he said, half aloud.

    In the King's Name George Manville Fenn
  • Now, father, we two will go across the Bay and rout out that old Troll.

    Mighty Mikko Parker Fillmore
  • Now sit right down Mr. Gilbert, and I'll go and rout out Norry, and you and her can have your breakfast sociably together.

  • And of course you can rout out evidence for anything under the sun from his dingy old folios.

    The Return Walter de la Mare
  • Finally it occurred to him to rout out an old lieutenant of the 96th, named Livin, a poor devil with whom he often used to fence.

  • A word, a wave of her whip sufficed for the dog to rout out the recalcitrant sheep and send him bleating to his fellows.

  • He wished to rout out two men to whom he owed a very deep grudge, which he was fully determined to pay off.

  • Stewards, chief officers, mates, men rush in all directions to rout out Tubbs.

  • I had to rout out a dozing elevator operator, and as the lift swooped upward my anger rose with it.

    The Door Through Space Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Many of the front doors had been battered open in order to start the fires or to rout out the people who were in hiding.

British Dictionary definitions for rout out


an overwhelming defeat
a disorderly retreat
a noisy rabble
(law) a group of three or more people proceeding to commit an illegal act
(archaic) a large party or social gathering
(transitive) to defeat and cause to flee in confusion
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-Norman rute, from Old French: disorderly band, from Latin ruptus broken, from rumpere to burst; see route


to dig over or turn up (something), esp (of an animal) with the snout; root
(transitive; usually foll by out or up) to get or find by searching
(transitive) usually foll by out. to force or drive out: they routed him out of bed at midnight
(transitive) often foll by out. to hollow or gouge out
(intransitive) to search, poke, or rummage
Word Origin
C16: variant of root²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rout out



1590s, "disorderly retreat following a defeat," from Middle French route "disorderly flight of troops," literally "a breaking off, rupture," from Vulgar Latin rupta "a dispersed group," literally "a broken group," from noun use of Latin rupta, fem. past participle of rumpere "to break" (see rupture (n.)).

The archaic English noun rout "group of persons, assemblage," is the same word, from Anglo-French rute, Old French route "host, troop, crowd," from Vulgar Latin rupta "a dispersed group," here with sense of "a division, a detachment." It first came to English meaning "group of soldiers" (early 13c.), also "gang of outlaws or rioters, mob" (c.1300) before the more general sense developed 14c. Also as a legal term. Cf. rout-cake (1807), one baked for use at a reception.


"drive into disordered flight by defeat," c.1600, from rout (n.). Related: Routed; routing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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