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 scrape, rub," late 14c. (implied in grated), from Old French grater "to scrape, scratch (out or off); erase; destroy, pull down" (Modern French gratter), from Frankish *kratton, from Proto-Germanic *krattojan (source also of Old High German krazzon "to scratch, scrape," German kratzen "to scratch," Swedish kratta, Danish kratte "to rake, scrape"), probably of imitative origin. Senses of "sound harshly," and "annoy" are mid-16c. Italian grattare also is from Germanic. Related: Grated; grating.
instrument for scraping (bread, ginger, etc.), late 14c., from Old French grateor, agent noun from grater "to scrape, scratch out or off" (see grate (v.)).
"tear in pieces, strike asunder," c. 1200, from a Scandinavian or North Sea Germanic source akin to Old Norse rifa "to tear apart," from Proto-Germanic *rifanan "to tear, scratch" (compare Swedish rifva, Danish rive "scratch, tear"), from PIE root *rei- "to scratch, tear, cut" (see riparian).