verb (used with object), out·grew, out·grown, out·grow·ing.

to grow too large for: to outgrow one's clothes.
to leave behind or lose in the changes incident to development or the passage of time: She outgrew her fear of the dark.
to surpass in growing: watching one child outgrow another.

verb (used without object), out·grew, out·grown, out·grow·ing.

Archaic. to grow out; burst forth; protrude.

Origin of outgrow

First recorded in 1585–95; out- + grow
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for outgrew

Contemporary Examples of outgrew

  • When he outgrew his toddler car seat, he still needed a seat with a harness, as he is unable to sit in place with just a lap belt.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Cost of Raising a Special Needs Son

    Elizabeth Picciuto

    June 11, 2014

Historical Examples of outgrew

  • Flora, in a measure, outgrew her bodily infirmities, but she was always an invalid.

    Down The River

    Oliver Optic

  • First Frank, the lad, outgrew the country schools, just as he outgrew his clothes.

    Frank of Freedom Hill

    Samuel A. Derieux

  • They outgrew their jackets, and became men; and I felt that I had not lived in vain.

  • The Russian state, in its struggle for existence, outgrew its economic basis.

    Our Revolution

    Leon Trotzky

  • I outgrew all beakers and tankards, and not for long could he half-drown me in his mead pot.

British Dictionary definitions for outgrew


verb -grows, -growing, -grew or -grown (tr)

to grow too large for (clothes, shoes, etc)
to lose (a habit, idea, reputation, etc) in the course of development or time
to grow larger or faster than
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

Word Origin and History for outgrew



1590s, "to surpass in growth," from out + grow (v.). Meaning "to become too large or too mature for" is attested from 1660s. Related: Outgrowing; outgrown.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper