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Another Mechanics 101question today. I've been wondering about this for some time. Because my spellcheck always catches this word, and maybe it just needs updating, but I would think that it was a valid part of the English language by now. So...simply put...


Is 'OUTED' a word?


The past tense of being 'out' (as in the closet). Or...maybe a verb? An action.


"He 'outed' him to the whole school!"


Am I crazy, or is that just a 'glitch in the Matrix' as far as my spellcheck is concerned? Anybody know for sure?

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  • Site Administrator

I don't believe it's valid English, but it's in common use, and in a lot wider use than just coming out of the closet. It's now used for many types of secrets that are revealed. eg.


"Bradley was outed as a secret Collingwood supporter."


"Most people were very supportive when Kevin was outed as a ballet dancer."


"His parents didn't know what to think when Scott was outed as a Republican."

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Well.... if you are asking if it's a word I would say that it is. It is commonly understood by most people. It has a defined meaning and is in common usage.


If you are asking if it is a recognised word then no. It is accepted by academics that the definitive work for the English Language is the Oxford English Dictionary. And 'outed' isn't in there.

Edited by Nephylim
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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with Graeme -- the use of "out" as a verb has definitely entered the language, and nowadays has moved beyond its initial meaning of revealing someone as gay to any kind of revelation. The term pops up all the time in political blogs, for example, where people claiming one point of view are said to have been "outed" as actually holding the contrary view.


I presume that dictionaries will catch up with this eventually. (I wouldn't be surprised if American Heritage has already.)


If you're really concerned, most word processing programs allow you to add words to their internal dictionary so that the programs will stop flagging them as misspelled.



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