• synonyms


  1. a defeat attended with disorderly flight; dispersal of a defeated force in complete disorder: to put an army to rout; to put reason to rout.
  2. any overwhelming defeat: a rout of the home team by the state champions.
  3. a tumultuous or disorderly crowd of persons.
  4. the rabble or mob.
  5. Law. a disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons acting together in a manner that suggests an intention to riot although they do not actually carry out the intention.
  6. a large, formal evening party or social gathering.
  7. Archaic. a company or band of people.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to disperse in defeat and disorderly flight: to rout an army.
  2. to defeat decisively: to rout an opponent in conversation.
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Origin of rout1

1200–50; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French rute, Old French route a fraction, detachment < Latin rupta, feminine past participle of rumpere to break; (v.) derivative of the noun
Can be confusedroot rout route



verb (used without object)
  1. to root: pigs routing in the garden.
  2. to poke, search, or rummage.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to turn over or dig up (something) with the snout.
  2. to find or get by searching, rummaging, etc. (usually followed by out).
  3. to cause to rise from bed (often followed by up or out).
  4. to force or drive out.
  5. to hollow out or furrow, as with a scoop, gouge, or machine.
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Origin of rout2

1540–50; alteration of root2; compare Middle Dutch ruten to root out


verb (used without object) Archaic.
  1. to snore.
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Origin of rout3

before 900; Middle English routen, Old English hrūtan; cognate with Old High German hrūzan


[rout, root]Chiefly British Dialect
verb (used with or without object)
  1. to bellow; roar.
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  1. a bellow.
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Origin of rout4

1250–1300; Middle English rowten < Old Norse rauta to bellow; akin to Latin rudere
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

disaster, romp, drubbing, whipping, thrashing, embarrassment, debacle, beating, shutout, repulse, crush, finish, subdue, expel, beat, trounce, clobber, overpower, conquer, kill

Examples from the Web for routs

Historical Examples

  • All routs, all assemblies, all circles, and all balls were at a stop.

    Memoirs of the Court of St. Cloud, Complete

    Lewis Goldsmith

  • And then your routs are so ill conducted, the society so mixed.

  • First came the routs and the balls; then, when he had been presented to the husbands, came the dinners.


    Benjamin Disraeli

  • For what with the routs and the tea drinkings the city is monstrously gay.

    Peggy Owen Patriot

    Lucy Foster Madison

  • He learned in boyhood, and danced at "balls and routs" until he was sixty-four.

British Dictionary definitions for routs


  1. an overwhelming defeat
  2. a disorderly retreat
  3. a noisy rabble
  4. law a group of three or more people proceeding to commit an illegal act
  5. archaic a large party or social gathering
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  1. (tr) to defeat and cause to flee in confusion
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Word Origin

C13: from Anglo-Norman rute, from Old French: disorderly band, from Latin ruptus broken, from rumpere to burst; see route


  1. to dig over or turn up (something), esp (of an animal) with the snout; root
  2. (tr ; usually foll by out or up) to get or find by searching
  3. (tr usually foll by out) to force or drive outthey routed him out of bed at midnight
  4. (tr often foll by out) to hollow or gouge out
  5. (intr) to search, poke, or rummage
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Word Origin

C16: variant of root ²
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 routs



1590s, "disorderly retreat following a defeat," from Middle French route "disorderly flight of troops," literally "a breaking off, rupture," from Vulgar Latin rupta "a dispersed group," literally "a broken group," from noun use of Latin rupta, fem. past participle of rumpere "to break" (see rupture (n.)).

The archaic English noun rout "group of persons, assemblage," is the same word, from Anglo-French rute, Old French route "host, troop, crowd," from Vulgar Latin rupta "a dispersed group," here with sense of "a division, a detachment." It first came to English meaning "group of soldiers" (early 13c.), also "gang of outlaws or rioters, mob" (c.1300) before the more general sense developed 14c. Also as a legal term. Cf. rout-cake (1807), one baked for use at a reception.

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"drive into disordered flight by defeat," c.1600, from rout (n.). Related: Routed; routing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper