AskDefine | Define rout

Dictionary Definition

rout

Noun

1 a disorderly crowd of people [syn: mob, rabble]
2 an overwhelming defeat

Verb

1 cause to flee; "rout out the fighters from their caves" [syn: rout out, expel]
2 dig with the snout; "the pig was rooting for truffles" [syn: root, rootle]
3 make a groove in [syn: gouge]
4 defeat disastrously [syn: spread-eagle, spreadeagle]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

Noun

  1. A bellowing; a shouting; noise; clamor; uproar; disturbance; tumult.
  2. A troop; a throng; a company; an assembly; especially, a traveling company or throng.
  3. A disorderly and tumultuous crowd; a mob; hence, the rabble; the herd of common people.
  4. The state of being disorganized and thrown into confusion; -- said especially of an army defeated, broken in pieces, and put to flight in disorder or panic; also, the act of defeating and breaking up an army; as, the rout of the enemy was complete.
  5. A disturbance of the peace by persons assembled together with intent to do a thing which, if executed, would make them rioters, and actually making a motion toward the executing thereof.
  6. A fashionable assembly, or large evening party.

Verb

  1. To roar; to bellow; to snort; to snore loudly.
  2. To defeat an enemy completely and force them to retreat

Etymology 2

Alteration of root

Verb

  1. To search or root in the ground, as a swine.
  2. To scoop out with a gouge or other tool; to furrow.
  3. To use a router in woodworking.

See also

Extensive Definition

A rout is commonly defined as a chaotic and disorderly retreat or withdrawal of troops from a battlefield, resulting in the victory of the opposing party, or following defeat, a collapse of discipline, or poor morale. A routed army often degenerates into a sense of "every man for himself" as the surviving combatants attempt to flee to safety. A disorganized rout often results in much higher casualties for the retreating force than an orderly withdrawal. On many occasions, more soldiers are killed in the rout than in the actual battle. Normally, though not always, routs either effectively end a battle, or provide the decisive victory the winner needs to gain the momentum with which to end a battle in their favor.
It can also be a form of evening party.

History

Historically, lightly equipped soldiers such as auxiliaries, light cavalry, partisans or militia were important when pursuing a fast-moving routing enemy force and could often keep up the pursuit into the following day, causing the routing army heavy casualties or total dissolution. The slower moving heavy forces could then either seize objectives or pursue at leisure. However, with the advent of armoured warfare and blitzkrieg style operations, an enemy army can be kept more or less in a routing or disorganized state for days or weeks on end.

Tactics

Routs may be feigned to entice an enemy into pursuing the "retreating" force, with the intent of causing the enemy to abandon a strong defensive position or leading the enemy into a prepared ambush. It is thought that Breton cavalry performed this maneuver at the Battle of Hastings. However, this is a high-risk tactic, as the feigned-rout may often develop into a real rout.

Evening assembly

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the word 'rout' was commonly used to mean a large party or fashionable evening assembly, but this is now described as an archaic use.

Other uses of the term

A rout is also a synonym for an overwhelming defeat as well as a verb meaning "to put to disorderly retreat" or "to defeat utterly", and is often used in sports to describe a blowout.
Can also be found as "rought" in Great Britain.

References

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a mass of, a world of, agitation, and bobtail, annihilate, army, attendance, attendant, bafflement, balk, batter, bawl, beat, beating, bellow, best, bevy, bluster, bobbery, body of retainers, boil, boiling, bring down, brouhaha, bunch, bustle, cakewalk, canaille, chase, chase out, check, checkmate, churn, clamor, clobber, cloud, cluster, clutter, cohort, cohue, collapse, common ruck, commotion, confound, confusion, conquer, conquest, conturbation, cortege, court, covey, cream, crowd, crush, debacle, defeasance, defeat, deluge, demolish, destroy, devastate, dig out, discomfit, discomfiture, discomposure, disorder, dispel, dispersal, disquiet, disquietude, disturbance, do away with, do in, dregs, drive, drive out, drub, drubbing, drum out, dust, ebullition, eliminate, embroilment, entourage, eradicate, excitement, expel, exterminate, ferment, fermentation, fever, feverishness, fidgets, flap, flatten, flight, flock, flocks, flood, flurry, fluster, flutteration, foil, follower, following, foment, force out, freeze out, frustration, fume, fuss, galaxy, hail, harry out, heap, hiding, hive, hoi polloi, horde, host, hubbub, hunt down, hunt out, hurly-burly, inquietude, jam, jitters, jumpiness, knock off, lambaste, large amount, lay waste, legion, lick, licking, liquidate, lots, maelstrom, make mincemeat of, malaise, mangle, many, mass, massacre, masses, masses of, mob, moil, muchness, multitude, murder, mutilate, nerviness, nervosity, nervousness, nest, numbers, obliterate, other half, overpower, overrun, overthrow, overwhelm, pack, panic, panoply, parasite, perturbation, plurality, polish off, press, proletariat, pulverize, push out, put down, put to flight, put to rout, quantities, quite a few, rabble, rabblement, rag, ragtag, ragtag and bobtail, ravage, rebuff, repulse, restlessness, retinue, retreat, reversal, reverse, ride roughshod over, riffraff, roar, roil, romp, rout out, row, ruck, ruin, run out, satellite, scatter, scores, seethe, seething, setback, shatter, shellac, shellacking, shoal, skunk, smash, smoke out, smother, spate, squash, stampede, stifle, stir, subdue, subjugate, subjugation, suite, suppress, swarm, swirl, tag, thrash, thrashing, throng, tidy sum, to-do, topple, train, trample, trash, trepidation, trepidity, trim, trounce, trouncing, tumult, tumultuation, turbidity, turbulence, turmoil, twitter, unease, unrest, upset, vanquish, vanquishment, walkaway, walkover, wallop, warming, whip, wipe out, worlds of, worst
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