from The Century Dictionary.
- In the phrase to out-herod Herod, to be more violent than Herod (as represented in the old mystery plays); hence, to exceed in any excess of evil.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- transitive verb To surpass (Herod) in violence or wickedness; to exceed in any vicious or offensive particular. Compare
outpope the pope.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- verb surpass someone in cruelty or evil
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Simon-Pure Southerner from the very fact of their nativity, and visited with the most horrible retribution wherever they have shown a leaning toward the land of their birth, they find it necessary to out-herod
(For Virgil and Nativity play and prophecy see authorities in Comparetti, "Virgil in Middles Ages", p. 310 sqq.) "To out-herod Herod", i.e. to over-act, dates from
Every man’s invention seemed on the stretch, and each extravagant simile seemed to set one half of your men of wit into a brown study to produce something which should out-herod it.”
Every man's invention seemed on the stretch, and each extravagant simile seemed to set one half of your men of wit into a brown study to produce something which should out-herod it. "
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