verb (1)
\ˈlau̇t \
louted; louting; louts

Definition of lout 

(Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to bow in respect lout as the queen passed by

2 : submit, yield louted to the emperor



Definition of lout (Entry 2 of 3)

: an awkward brutish person


verb (2)
louted; louting; louts

Definition of lout (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to treat as a lout : scorn

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Did You Know?


Lout belongs to the large group of words we use to indicate an undesirable person, a boor, a bumpkin, a dolt, a clod. We've used lout in this way since the mid-1500s. As early as the 800s, however, lout functioned as a verb with the meaning "to bow in respect." No one is quite sure how the verb sense developed into a noun meaning "a brutish person." Perhaps the awkward posture of one bowing down led over time to the idea that the person was personally low and awkward as well.

Examples of lout in a Sentence


watch where you're going, you big lout! Howard's rude behavior at the country club earned him a reputation as a lout.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The original series, which aired on Bravo in the early 2000s, was fueled by a sort of culture-clash comedy between gay aesthetes and straight louts. Daniel D'addario, chicagotribune.com, "Review: 'Queer Eye' Season 2 on Netflix," 7 June 2018 Also, be mindful of what’s on your shirt, the wrong phrase or picture can turn a seemingly nice guy into a lout. Elizabeth Wellington, Philly.com, "Festival season in Philadelphia is here. Here's what to wear so you don't look like a fool | Elizabeth Wellington," 30 May 2018 The prince finds sour amusement in the way the old lout can talk his way out of any cowardly mischief, but his mind is elsewhere. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "Tom Hanks, Hamish Linklater and a 'Henry IV' worthy of applause," 10 June 2018 The temptation is to present this lout as a version of our current President; DeVita and actor David Daniel had the much better idea of playing him as a version of Tony Soprano. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Born Yesterday' heroine calls her own shots in American Players Theatre remake," 26 June 2018 One of the louts casually recalled an encounter with a onetime lady friend in graphic terms. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "Please, ESPN, don't muzzle Adrian Wojnarowski's NBA draft spoilers," 19 June 2018 And like most of the Korean film directors who crop up in Hong's playfully self-reflexive movies, So is a font of friendly, charming conversation but will eventually reveal himself to be a drunken, pathetic lout. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Isabelle Huppert's Cannes vacation in director Hong Sang-soo's 'Claire's Camera'," 29 Mar. 2018 Instead, Rosen is trying to sort out the whims, whines, shouts and pouts of a dozen athletes, some of whom are not loath to turn into louts at the slightest provocation. Frank Litsky, New York Times, "Mel Rosen, Coach of Powerful ‘92 Olympics Track Team, Dies at 90," 27 Mar. 2018 The scenes involving Cactus Bill are more successful; Rudd clearly enjoys playing the lout, and there’s a world-weariness to his performance that reflects the sordid environment. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Film / Small Screen The future is now in Duncan Jones's Mute," 16 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lout.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lout

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1542, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lout

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Old English lūtan; akin to Old Norse lūta to bow down


perhaps from lout entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near lout



lousy with





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Time Traveler for lout

The first known use of lout was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for lout



English Language Learners Definition of lout

: a stupid, rude, or awkward man

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More from Merriam-Webster on lout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lout

Spanish Central: Translation of lout

Nglish: Translation of lout for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lout

What made you want to look up lout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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