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  1. a station established at a distance from the main body of an army to protect it from surprise attack: We keep only a small garrison of men at our desert outposts.
  2. the body of troops stationed there; detachment or perimeter guard.
  3. an outlying settlement, installation, position, etc.
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Origin of outpost

First recorded in 1750–60; out- + post2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for outpost


  1. military
    1. a position stationed at a distance from the area occupied by a major formation
    2. the troops assigned to such a position
  2. an outlying settlement or position
  3. a limit or frontier
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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 outpost


1757, "military position detached from the main body of troops," from out + post (n.2). Originally in George Washington's letters. Commercial sense of "trading settlement near a frontier" is from 1802. Phrase outpost of Empire (by 1895) in later use often echoes Kipling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper