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  1. prominent; conspicuous; striking: an outstanding example of courage.
  2. marked by superiority or distinction; excellent; distinguished: an outstanding student.
  3. continuing in existence; remaining unsettled, unpaid, etc.: outstanding debts.
  4. (of securities and the like) publicly issued and sold or in circulation.
  5. standing out; projecting: a stiff, outstanding fabric.
  6. Archaic. that resists or opposes.
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Origin of outstanding

First recorded in 1605–15; outstand + -ing2
Related formsout·stand·ing·ly, adverbout·stand·ing·ness, noun


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1. eminent. 3. owing, due.


verb (used without object), out·stood, out·stand·ing.
  1. to be prominent.
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verb (used with object), out·stood, out·stand·ing.
  1. to stay or remain beyond: to outstand the hour.
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Origin of outstand

First recorded in 1565–75; out- + stand
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for outstanding


  1. superior; excellent; distinguished
  2. prominent, remarkable, or striking
  3. still in existence; unsettled, unpaid, or unresolved
  4. (of shares, bonds, etc) issued and sold
  5. projecting or jutting upwards or outwards
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Derived Formsoutstandingly, adverb


verb -stands, -standing or -stood
  1. (intr) to be outstanding or excel
  2. (intr) nautical to stand out to sea
  3. (tr) archaic to last beyond
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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 outstanding


1610s, "projecting, prominent, detached," present participle adjective from outstand (v.) "endure successfully, hold out against," from out (adv.) + stand (v.). Figurative sense of "conspicuous, striking" is first recorded 1830. Meaning "unpaid, unsettled" is from 1797. Related: Outstandingly.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper