General English


  • noun a person who sells tickets (to games or shows) for more than the price printed on them


  • verb to make extravagant publicity for a product


  • noun an informer. A Northern Irish expression, used typically by the IRA or its supporters of a turncoat or grass.

Origin & History of “tout”

The etymological notion underlying tout is of ‘sticking out, projecting’. It goes back ultimately to the prehistoric Germanic base *tūt- ‘project’, whose other descendants include Dutch tuit ‘spout’. It is assumed to have produced an Old English *tūtian, but it does not turn up in the written record until the middle English period, by which time the notion of ‘poking out’ had moved on to ‘peeking’ or ‘peeping’. It progressed further to ‘spy on’, but the modern ‘look for business’ did not emerge until the 18th century.