also washout, 1877, "act of washing out" (a drain, etc.), from verbal phrase; see wash (v.) + out (adv.). From 1873 as "excavation of a roadbed, etc., by erosion" is from 1873. Meaning "a disappointing failure" is from 1902, from verbal phrase wash out "obliterate, cancel" (something written in ink), attested from 1570s. Hence also the colloquial sense of "to call off (an event) due to bad weather, etc." (1917). Of colored material, washed-out "faded" is from 1837.
"exceed in any excess of evil," from Shakespeare's it out-Herods Herod in Hamlet's instruction to the players in "Hamlet" Act III, Scene II. Shakespeare used the same construction elsewhere ("All's Well that Ends Well" has out-villain'd villany). The phrase reflects the image of Herod as stock braggart and bully in old religious drama. The form of the phrase was widely imitated 19c. and extended to any excessive behavior.
Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it. ["Hamlet"]
"to assist, help," c. 1400, aiden, from Old French aidier "help, assist" (Modern French aider), from Latin adiutare, frequentative of adiuvare (past participle adiutus) "to give help to," from ad "to" (see ad-) + iuvare "to help, assist, give strength, support, sustain," which is from a PIE source perhaps related to the root of iuvenis "young person" (see young (adj.)). Related: Aided; aiding.
c. 1200, socour, earlier socours "aid, help," from Anglo-French succors "help, aid," Old French socors, sucurres "aid, help, assistance" (Modern French secours), from Medieval Latin succursus "help, assistance," from past participle of Latin succurrere "run to help, hasten to the aid of," from assimilated form of sub "up to" (see sub-) + currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run"). Final -s mistaken in English as a plural inflection and dropped late 13c. Meaning "one who aids or helps" is from c. 1300.
fem. proper name, from Greek opheleia "help, aid," from ophelein "to help, aid, assist," ophelos "advantage, help," from PIE root *obhel- "to avail" (source also of Armenian avelum "increase, abound").