According to Wikipedia, the past tense (and past participle) of the verb to output is either output or outputted. Are these two forms entirely interchangeable? Or do they have certain nuance in meaning or context (e.g. in programming one of the forms is preferred)?

Instead of correct results, my program output/outputted garbage.

Which one should I choose? My logical sense tells me output is better because it derives from put, but intuitively I tend to use outputted when I speak and don't have time to think.

  • 8
    Possible duplicate of Inputted or input?
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 11:01
  • Wait. Isn't outputting something you do in golf?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 13:18
  • 2
    I've always used 'output' myself.
    – Kye
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 14:06
  • 1
    Instead of correct results, my program produced garbage.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


Dictionary.com endorses both output and outputted. Ngrams and a Google search (238K vs. 22K) yields evidence of a definite preference for output. (Note: is output instead of was output yields similar results)

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  • 1
    The question asks for the past tense of "output," instead of the past participle. The latter is used in passive voice.
    – L. F.
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 2:19
  • 1
    @L.F. yes, but if the result does not match then this would be the only verb in existence to have -ed in past tense with no ending for past participle... Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 8:32

The word "output" is a noun, not a verb. I believe "outputting" is just an illiterate form of "to put out" or "to produce as output".

  • 8
    Please name a general-purpose English language dictionary that does not include an entry for output as a verb.
    – phenry
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 20:48
  • @toniedzwiedz Both links now just go to company front pages. Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 10:04

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