out·​do ˌau̇t-ˈdü How to pronounce outdo (audio)

transitive verb

: to go beyond in action or performance
Choose the Right Synonym for outdo

exceed, surpass, transcend, excel, outdo, outstrip mean to go or be beyond a stated or implied limit, measure, or degree.

exceed implies going beyond a limit set by authority or established by custom or by prior achievement.

exceed the speed limit

surpass suggests superiority in quality, merit, or skill.

the book surpassed our expectations

transcend implies a rising or extending notably above or beyond ordinary limits.

transcended the values of their culture

excel implies preeminence in achievement or quality and may suggest superiority to all others.

excels in mathematics

outdo applies to a bettering or exceeding what has been done before.

outdid herself this time

outstrip suggests surpassing in a race or competition.

outstripped other firms in sales

Examples of outdo in a Sentence

Smaller companies often outdo larger ones in customer service. My sister always tried to outdo me in school. She scored 20 points in the first game. Not to be outdone, I scored 30 points myself in the second game.
Recent Examples on the Web But a bit of reverse psychology from Phoebe sees Monica accepting the challenge of outdoing herself compared to last year’s meal. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Nov. 2023 The 20-year-old phenom outdid his college-tournament record while at Stanford. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2023 But any politician would have been hard-pressed, in 2019, to outdo Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, two of Trump’s closest legislative allies, in performative support. Timothy McLaughlin, The Atlantic, 4 Nov. 2023 Dressing in costumes for Halloween has been a yearly tradition on the Today show desk, with the hosts each outdoing each other with their own costumes and performances. Dave Quinn, Peoplemag, 31 Oct. 2023 Banana Republic Factory Not to be outdone, Banana Republic Factory (the brand’s diffusion line) is coming in hot with steep markdowns. Jake Smith, Glamour, 14 Nov. 2023 Not to be outdone, Rodrigo also finds herself among the top categories. Sadie Bell, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2023 Not to be outdone, after a cold open featuring Bowen Yang as a baby-carrying George Santos, tonight’s second episode of the season saw Pedro Pascal cameo with host Bad Bunny during his cheeky monologue before popping up later for a redux of his overprotective Latina mom sketch. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 22 Oct. 2023 As the anchors tried to outdo each other with their Swift fandom, the sketch ended with a cameo by Travis Kelce himself — the Kansas City Chiefs tight end at the center of the brouhaha. Michael Schneider, Variety, 15 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'outdo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of outdo was circa 1616

Dictionary Entries Near outdo

Cite this Entry

“Outdo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/outdo. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


out·​do -ˈdü How to pronounce outdo (audio)
outdid -ˈdid How to pronounce outdo (audio) ; outdone -ˈdən How to pronounce outdo (audio) ; outdoing -ˈdü-iŋ How to pronounce outdo (audio)
: to go beyond in achievement or performance

More from Merriam-Webster on outdo

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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