Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Word of the day: tout

The word of the day is tout:

a person who solicits business, employment, support, or the like, importunately 

1700, thieves' cant, "to act as a lookout, spy on," from M.E. tuten "to peep, peer," probably from a variant of O.E. totian "to stick out, peep, peer," from P.Gmc. *tut- "project" (cf. Du. tuit "sprout, snout," M.Du. tute "nipple, pap," M.L.G. tute "horn, funnel," O.N. tota "teat, toe of a shoe"). The sense developed to "look out for jobs, votes, etc., to try to get them" (1731), then "praise highly" (1920).  (

"And having just left India, where to be a foreigner is to become a magnet for every beggar, cab-driver, and tout for miles, I had no wish to repeat the rôle."

 - Laurie R. King, Dreaming Spies (2015)

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