2

Re: "outwest"

Google search: About 496,000 results (the first 10 pages showing business names, except a street name and a hashtag).

Google search: "outwest meaning" --> "Did you mean: out west meaning"

Other search results for "outwest" (from dictionaries):

  1. M-W: out West (idiom; variant: out west).

  2. ODO: No exact matches found for "outwest" (nearest result: out West).

  3. American Heritage: No word definition found.

  4. Cambridge Dictionary: "words with similar spellings or pronunciations" (out west, southwest, outcast...).

  5. Chambers: Sorry, no entries for outwest were found.

  6. Collins: Sorry, no results for "outwest" in the English Dictionary. (Did you mean: outwrest, outjest, outwent...).

Based on that, I guess outwest is not an acknowledged word. I suppose some people and outfitters use it because western sounds sort of old-timey (e.g., outwest outfit vs. western wear). But I don't have access to the OED, not yet.

Question: Is outwest listed as an actual word in some source (not included in the ones I have listed above)?

Or is it considered idiomatic only by those who sell (or buy) a lot of steaks and/or boots, for example?

An example found online, similar to how I've heard outwest used most often (not including references to merchandise):

The guests enjoy the Arizona "outwest" vibe that [he] brings to the campfire with his songs and his stories.

--Activities Supervisor

(Unlinked quote due to "not secure" warning.)

  • 6
    Never heard of it- and I live out West. I suppose someone living all the way on the West Coast can outwest me, though. – Jim Apr 15 at 20:38
  • 1
    It is obviously an English word, but I have never come across it and have no idea what it means (well I do now). Presumably it is dialect or jargon in too small a group to meet the requirements for entry in general dictionaries. – user323578 Apr 15 at 20:45
  • I believe the correct spelling is two words and not one as it shows in the first dictionary "M-W", which I assume is Marrion-Webster. – Karlomanio Apr 15 at 21:26
  • 2
    "out West" two words, just like "back East". – Centaurus Apr 15 at 21:29
  • 1
    Where have you seen this word? Some context would help with determining if it is a nonce usage, a subculture, or just a mistake. Why do you think it is a 'word'? Do you use it normally? And do you trust all the google entries it found? – Mitch Apr 15 at 21:50
3

"Outwest" is not a common term, but I have read it a few times. Obviously, it may sometimes represent simply a combination of "out" and "west" in "normal" (if perhaps erroneous) construction. Eg, "The Rockies are outwest."

But it is sometimes used as a noun, where "the outwest" (likely to be capitalized as either "Outwest" or "OutWest") means roughly the same as "the west" (in the sense of the western US).

And the term is also used as sort of adjective, with a flavor similar to "western", as noted in the original question. I suspect the intent is to avoid the "Cowboys and Indians" connotation of "western", and to make it seem more "edgy".

Unfortunately, searching for this term is a challenge, as there is (or was) a literary magazine, several businesses, and even at least one town named "Outwest".

  • 2
    I suspect it has a similar derivation to the recognised Australian term the Outback which is broadly speaking the vast majority of the continent west of the fertile inland plains of the eastern states. That arid land "out back o' Burke". – Chappo Apr 16 at 4:18
  • 1
    @Chappo - Yep, in some cases "Outwest" may even be a play on "Outback". – Hot Licks Apr 16 at 11:48
2

As you suspect, "outwest" is not a real word.

"out West", two words, means "in the western part of the United States". NTC's AID

e.g. "I lived out West for ten years."

In the US you will also hear:

  • back East (refers mainly to the American Northeast, the New England states)
  • up North
  • down South

Even those who have never been to the American Northeast, North, or South, may occasionally use these phrases. e.g. "My son went to college back East."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.