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"]
early 15c., "to offer, hand over; extend, stretch out," from Latin porrectus, past participle of porrigere "to stretch or spread out; reach out to, offer, present," from *por-, variation of pro "before, for" (see pro-) + regere "to lead straight, rule" (from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule"). Surviving, if at all, in ecclesiastical legal language. Related: Porrection.
1530s, "abnormal" (usually in a bad sense), from Latin enormis "out of rule, irregular, shapeless; extraordinary, very large," from assimilated form of ex "out of" (see ex-) + norma "rule, norm" (see norm), with English -ous substituted for Latin -is. Meaning "extraordinary in size" is attested from 1540s; original sense of "outrageous" is more clearly preserved in enormity. Earlier was enormyous (mid-15c.) "exceedingly great, monstrous." Related: Enormously; enormousness.