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This page has 13 definitions of outgo in English. Outgo is a verb and noun. Also define these 54 related words and terms: go, further, exceed, go beyond, surpass, outdo, experience, go through, undergo, travel, fast, outstrip, overtake, outdistance, outrun, pass, poetic, regional, go out, set forth, set out, far, overextend, overreach, business, cost, expenditure, outlay, outgoing, income, receipts, takings, act, process, instance, departure, efflux, exit, outflow, arrival, entrance, incoming, inflow, ingoing, influx, means, flow, outlet, quantity, substance, thing, effluxion, issue, and outcome.



PIE word

The verb is derived from Middle English outgon (to go out, depart, leave; to come out, emerge; to escape; to protrude; of a sword: to be drawn; to emanate from (a place); to accompany),[1] from Old English ūtgān (to go out), from ūt- (prefix meaning ‘out’) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *úd (away; out; outwards; upwards)) + gān (to go; to walk) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰeh₁- (to go; to walk)).[2]

Compare Middle English outwenden (to go out, depart, leave; to escape; to be emitted, fly out from; of a weapon: to be drawn), which, like modern outgo, had the past tense and past participle form outwent.[3]

The noun is derived from modern English out- (prefix meaning ‘away from; toward the outside of’) +‎ go. Sense 1 (“cost, expenditure, or outlay”) was probably modelled on income.[4]



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

  1. (transitive)
    1. (archaic) To go further than (someone or something); to exceed, to go beyond, to surpass.
      Synonym: outdo
    2. (obsolete)
      1. To experience, go through, or undergo (something).
      2. To travel faster than (someone or something); to outstrip, to overtake.
        Synonyms: outdistance, outrun, pass
        • 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book V, Canto VIII”, in The Faerie Queene. [], part II (books IV–VI), London: [] [Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, →OCLC, stanza 4, page 282:
          So trauelling, he chaunſt far off to heed, / A Damzell, flying on a palfrey faſt / Before tvvo Knights, [] Yet fled ſhe faſt, and both them farre outvvent, / Carried vvith vvings of feare, like fovvle aghaſt, / VVith locks all looſe, and rayment all to rent; []
        • 1678, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: [], London: [] Nath[aniel] Ponder [], →OCLC; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress (The Noel Douglas Replicas), London: Noel Douglas, [], 1928, →OCLC, page 164:
          VVhat, ſhall vve talk further vvith him? or out-go him at preſent? and ſo leave him to think of vvhat he hath heard already; and then ſtop again for him aftervvards, and ſee if by degrees vve can do any good of him?
        • 1678, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: [], London: [] Nath[aniel] Ponder [], →OCLC; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress (The Noel Douglas Replicas), London: Noel Douglas, [], 1928, →OCLC, page 206:
          Then ſaid By-ends, [] I muſt do as I did before you overtook me, even go by my ſelf, untill ſome overtake me that vvill be glad of my Company. Then Chriſtian and Hopeful outvvent him, and vvent till they came at a delicate Plain, called Eaſe, vvhere they vvent vvith much content; but that plain vvas but narrovv, ſo they vvere quickly got over it.
        • 1678, R[alph] Cudworth, chapter V, in The True Intellectual System of the Universe: The First Part; wherein All the Reason and Philosophy of Atheism is Confuted; and Its Impossibility Demonstrated, London: [] Richard Royston, [], →OCLC, page 781:
          For as much as Time, is alvvaies Scattered and Stretched out in Length, and Diſtance, one moment follovving after another; but Eternity remaineth in the ſame, vvithout any Flux, and yet nevertheleſs outgoeth Time, and tranſcendeth the Flux thereof, though ſeeming to be ſtretched and ſpun out more into Length.
        • 1743, Henry Fielding, “A Surprizing Instance of Mr. Adams’s Short Memory, with the Unfortunate Consequences which It Brought on Joseph”, in The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, and His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams. [], 3rd edition, volume I, London: [] A[ndrew] Millar, [], →OCLC, book II, page 100:
          The tvvo Travellers ſet out together, one on horeſback, the other on foot: Novv as it generally happens that he on horſeback outgoes him on foot, the Cuſtom is, that vvhen he arrives at the Diſtance agreed on, he is to diſmount, tie the Horſe to ſome Gate, Tree, Poſt, or other thing, and then proceed on foot; vvhen the other comes up to the Horſe, he unties him, mounts and gallops on, []
        • 1889, William Morris, “Otter and His Folk Come into Mid-mark”, in A Tale of the House of the Wolfings and All the Kindreds of the Mark [], London: Reeves and Turner [], →OCLC, page 126:
          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: []
    • Go Beyond definition
      To be more than (something); to be better than (something); to surpass (something).
    • Outdo definition
      To excel; go beyond in performance; surpass.
    • Experience definition
      The effect upon the judgment or feelings produced by any event, whether witnessed or participated in; personal and direct impressions as contrasted with description or fancies; personal acquaintance; actual enjoyment or suffering. (1 of 5 experience definitions)
    • Travel definition
      To be on a journey, often for pleasure or business and with luggage; to go from one place to another. (1 of 6 travel definitions)
  2. (intransitive)
    1. (archaic except poetic and Britain, regional) To go out, to set forth, to set out.
      • 1579, Immeritô [pseudonym; Edmund Spenser], “May. Aegloga Quinta.”, in The Shepheardes Calender: [], London: [] Hugh Singleton, [], →OCLC; reprinted as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, The Shepheardes Calender [], London: John C. Nimmo, [], 1890, →OCLC, folio 16, verso:
        I ſawe a ſhole of ſhepheardes outgoe, / With ſinging, and ſhouting, and iolly chere: []
      • 1845, James Russell Lowell, “First Conversation. Chaucer.”, in Conversations on Some of the Old Poets, Cambridge, Mass.: John Owen, →OCLC, page 99:
        And in the middle sea they chanced to meet; / Up goes the trump; with shots and shouts they greet, / And hasten them to set on with the sun; / With grisly sound outgoeth the great gun, []
      • 1890, John Bragg, “Life”, in Sonnets and Short Poems (Second Series), Leeds, Yorkshire: [] Alfred W. Inman, →OCLC, page 13:
        There is a God, the One only Creator, / The All-Animator; / From Him the light of life ever outgoeth,— / Life's river floweth: []
    2. (obsolete) To go too far; to overextend or overreach.
      • 1668, John Denham, “On My Lord Croft’s and My Journey into Poland, from whence We Brought 10000 l. for His Majesty by the Decimation of His Scottish Subjects there”, in Poems and Translations, with The Sophy, 4th edition, London: [] [John Macock] for H[enry] Herringman [], →OCLC, stanza 10, page 68:
        But John / (Our Friend) Molleſſon, / Thought us to have out-gone / VVith a quaint Invention.


Alternative forms

Derived terms

Related terms



outgo (countable and uncountable, plural outgos or outgoes)

  1. (countable, business, archaic except India) A cost, expenditure, or outlay.
    Synonym: outgoing
    Antonyms: income, receipts, takings
  2. (uncountable) The act or process of going out; (countable) an instance of this; an outgoing.
    Synonyms: departure, efflux, exit, outflow
    Antonyms: arrival, entrance, incoming, inflow, ingoing, influx
    • 1898, Kate Douglas Wiggin, “Susanna Crum Couldna Say”, in Penelope’s Progress [], Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y.: Houghton, Mifflin and Company [], →OCLC, part 1st (In Town), page 35:
      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 imperiled 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 W[ashington] Cable, “Questions”, in Gideon’s Band: A Tale of the Mississippi, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, →OCLC, page 37:
      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.
    • 1946 February 12, John Taber, “Statement of Rear Adm. W. J. Carter, Chief of Bureau, Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, Accompanied by Capt. J. M. Bregar, Commander S. M. Trott, and E. Midkiff, Bureau of Supplies and Accounts”, in Robert P[ercy] Williams, editor, Second Supplemental Surplus Appropriation Rescission Bill, 1946: Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, Seventy-ninth Congress, Second Session, on the Second Supplemental Surplus Appropriation Rescission Bill, 1946 [], Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, →OCLC, page 526:
      I suppose you have been getting a lot of deliveries and no outgoes. Is that about the size of it?
    • 1949 March 28, Robert H[oughwout] Jackson, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States (delivering the court’s opinion), “United States v. Women’s Sportswear Manufacturers Association et al.”, in Walter Wyatt (reporter), United States Reports: Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court at October Term, 1948 [], volume 336, Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 462:
      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.
    • 1976 September, David Namkoong, “Description of System”, in Tests of a Reduced-scale Experimental Model of a Building Solar Heating–Cooling System (NASA Technical Memorandum; X-3416), Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, →OCLC, page 4:
      The resulting output signal served as the reference that the measured heat inputs and outgos attempted to match.
    • 1983, J. L. Charley, B. N. Richards, “Nutrient Allocation in Plant Communities: Mineral Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems”, in O. L. Lange, P. S. Nobel, C. B. Osmond, H. Ziegler, editors, Physiological Plant Ecology IV: Ecosystem Processes: Mineral Cycling, Productivity and Man’s Influence (Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, New Series; 12D), Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, →DOI, →ISBN, page 38:
      In the case of those nutrient elements, such as N and S, which occur predominantly in organic combination, measurement of the balance between atmospheric inputs and drainage outgoes may indicate may indicate the degree of control or relative leakiness of the ecosystem, provided due allowance is made for short-term fluctuations that could be meaningless.
  3. (archaic or obsolete)
    1. (countable) The means by which something flows or goes out; an outlet.
    2. (uncountable, rare) A (quantity of a) substance or thing that has flowed out; an outflow.
      Synonyms: effluxion, issue, outcome
      • 1870, Friedrich Bleek, “The Petrine Epistles”, in William Urwick, transl., edited by Johannes Friedrich Bleek, An Introduction to the New Testament. [] (Clark’s Foreign Theological Library, Fourth Series; XXVI), volume II, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, [], →OCLC, § 217 (The Second Petrine Epistle), page 175:
        It cannot be doubted that the same persons are here meant as are spoken of in the preceding chapter, for their scorn was the outgo of the same frivolous mind which is there said to distinguish them.
      • 1899, H[erbert] W[illiam] Conn, “Is the Body a Machine?”, in The Story of the Living Machine: A Review of the Conclusions of Modern Biology in Regard to the Mechanism which Controls the Phenomena of Living Activity, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC, part I (The Running of the Living Machine), pages 23–24:
        In these experiments it is necessary to take account not only of the food eaten, but of the actual amount of this food which is used by the body. [] 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, “When and Why to Fast”, in Fasting for the Cure of Disease, 4th edition, New York, N.Y.: The Physical Culture Publishing Company, →OCLC, page 37:
        And the arms of the scale of intake and outgo must likewise remain at level, and they do so maintain balance in health.
    • Flow definition
      Movement in people or things characterized with a continuous motion, involving either a non solid mass or a multitude. (1 of 11 flow definitions)
    • Outcome definition
      That which is produced or occurs as a result of an event or process. (1 of 4 outcome definitions)

Related terms



  1. ^ ǒutgōn, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ Compare “outgo, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “outgo, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ ǒutwenden, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ outgo, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “outgo, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.