Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Lout

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is lout. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

lout is a person who is both awkward and brutish.

// To get away from the obnoxious louts they’d been seated near, Jared and Fiona asked the waiter if they could be moved to another table.

LOUT in Context

“This is a page-turner about a tough woman and her con-artist lout of a partner, and I will eat my laptop if it doesn’t get optioned for TV or film the minute it hits bookshelves.” – Molly Young, Vulture, 8 Jan. 2021

Did You Know?

Lout belongs to a large group of words that we use to indicate a particular sort of offensive and insensitive person, that group also including such terms as booroafjerk, and churl. 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—or even if—the verb sense developed into a noun meaning “a brutish person.” The noun could have been coined independently, but if its source was the verb, perhaps the awkward posture of one bowing down led over the centuries to the idea that the bowing person was base and awkward as well.

Leave a Reply