March 21, 2016
tout (verb)
\TOWT\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to make much of : promote
How do you use it?
The tablet was touted by the electronics manufacturer as the world's best and most versatile device.
Are you a word wiz?

This sense of "tout" is not the only one out there, though it is the most common. What was the original meaning of the English word "tout"?

Watch out--the answer is B! How did we get from spying to promoting? It's a matter of the language following life. "Tout" was first used in English around 1700 to refer to secretly watching someone or something. A series of smaller derivative meanings popped up having to do with spying out information on racehorses or selling secret information about racehorses. Soon, the idea of being on the lookout was extended to people selling things, who were watching for customers. Before too long, "tout" gained the sense we give above when those sellers tried to talk customers into buying their wares. This sense of "tout" is relatively young, only showing up in the last century.
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