July 10, 2011
- oust (verb)
- What does it mean?
- : to force or drive out (as from office or from possession of something)
- How do you use it?
- We were more than a little disappointed to learn that our basketball team had been ousted from its top position in the state.
- Are you a word wiz?
Only one of these statements about "oust" is true. Which one do you think it is?Eject all but B from consideration! "Eject" and "oust" both mean "to drive or force out." "Eject" usually has to do with a physical action of throwing or thrusting out from within, as in "security guards ejected an obnoxious customer." "Oust" implies removing or taking away something owned or possessed by force or legal power, as in "the sheriff ousted the squatters." "Oust" first entered English in the 1500s, and comes not from German, but from Latin. The Latin prefix "ob-" ("in the way") was added to "stare" ("to stand"), producing "obstare" meaning "to stand in the way." In Late Latin the meaning changed to "to ward off," and when adopted into Anglo-French (the French spoken in medieval England), it became "oster" or "ouster" meaning "to oust," which was then adopted into English.