from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A contest between antagonists; a match.
  • noun A period of time spent in a particular way; a spell.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • About.
  • Same as but.
  • noun A turn, loop, coil, or knot, as in a rope or chain; a bend or flexure.
  • noun The part of a sling that contains the stone.
  • noun A going and returning, as in plowing, reaping, etc.; hence, as much of an action as is performed at one time; a single part of an action which is carried on at successive intervals.
  • noun A round at anything, as in some contest; a set-to; a trial: as, a bout at single-stick or fisticuffs.
  • noun A round of indulgence, as in drink: as, a drunken bout.
  • noun A turn or fit of illness: as, a severe bout of rheumatism.
  • noun In music, an inward curve of a rib of an instrument of the violin kind, by which the waist is formed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun As much of an action as is performed at one time; a going and returning, as of workmen in reaping, mowing, etc.; a turn; a round.
  • noun A conflict; contest; attempt; trial; a set-to at anything.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • preposition colloquial about
  • noun A period of something, usually painful or unpleasant
  • noun boxing A boxing match.
  • noun fencing An assault (a fencing encounter) at which the score is kept.
  • noun A fighting competition.
  • noun music A bulge or widening in a musical instrument, such as either of the two characteristic bulges of a guitar.
  • noun dated The going and returning of a plough, or other implement used to mark the ground and create a headland, across a field.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an occasion for excessive eating or drinking
  • noun a contest or fight (especially between boxers or wrestlers)
  • noun (sports) a division during which one team is on the offensive
  • noun a period of illness


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From obsolete English bought, a turning (influenced by about), from Middle English, from bowen, to bend, turn; see bow.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Written form of a reduction of "about".

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bught, probably from an unrecorded Old English variant of byht ("a bend"). See bight, bought.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word bout.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • On a guitar, the widened sections of the body, usually divided by the waist into a narrower upper bout (also called the treble bout, toward the neck) and a wider lower bout (also called the bass bout) toward the tailpiece.

    November 15, 2007

  • Come on- none of the examples show a legitimate use of the word bout. How 'bout dat?

    February 17, 2014

  • right a bout not bout now bout now bout now..

    February 18, 2014

  • At the same time, health problems that have long plagued him, including bouts of debilitating fatigue, have resurfaced.

    January 18, 2018