Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

make out - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theymake out
he/she/itmakes out
present participlemaking out
past tensemade out
past participlemade out
  1. 1
    [transitive] to see, hear, or understand someone or something with difficulty

    I can just make a few words out on this page.

    I couldn’t make out what he was saying.

    Can you make out a face here on the photograph?

    1. a.
  2. 2
    [transitive] to write all the necessary information on a document such as a cheque

    She made out a cheque and handed it to me.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to cause people to have a particular false opinion about someone or something
    make someone out to be something:

    He made me out to be a liar.

  4. 4
    [transitive] informal to pretend that something is true
    make out (that):

    He made out that he’d won the lottery.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] informal to succeed, or to continue in a particular way

    How is Frank making out in his new job?

  6. 6
    [intransitive] American informal to have sex, or to kiss and touch in a sexual way
See also main entry: make
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play