June 05, 2011
- outright (adverb)
- What does it mean?
- 1 a : in entirety : completely b : without holding back2 : on the spot : instantaneously
- How do you use it?
- My parents didn't agree to my suggestion that we adopt the lost puppy, but they didn't reject it outright, either.
- Are you a word wiz?
Which of the following famous historical figures would have been alive when "outright" first came into the English language?You've got a world-class vocabulary if you chose answer B! Marco Polo, the great medieval explorer, was probably alive when "outright" first came into English. And if Marco had spoken English, it's a word he might have used often: one of its earliest senses meant "straight ahead," as in "travel outright two hundred miles." Perhaps because going straight ahead implied doing something to its completion, or going "all out" as we'd say, "outright" picked up the extended sense of "entirely" or "completely." Later, it gained two other familiar senses: "without holding back" (as in "laughing outright at the joke") and "on the spot" (as in "moldy fruit that was thrown away outright").