Output vs. Outcome

Output is the result of a process in business like manufacturing or agriculture while outcome is the result of an event like an election or meeting.Both nouns may seem to be similar, but they differ in meaning.

When to Use Output

Output as a Noun

Used in technical and business terms, there are at least three ways that output is applied.

First, it stands for the amount of services or goods a person or machine produces in a period of time. Some of the examples where output is used include economic and artistic production. The information a computer produces is also called output.

Second, output is the term used for the energy a piece of equipment or system produces for storage or conversion. Output is also the amount of electricity a generator produces.

Third, in medicine, output is the amount of matter discharged by a body part within a specified time. An example of this is cardiac output, which is the volume of blood a heart can pump in one minute.

The organization needs to hire more people to fulfill the required output.

Agricultural output in the country is declining.

To say Taylor Swift’s musical output is amazing is an understatement.

Detecting ChatGPT output poses a real challenge to many teachers.

What is the average solar output in winter?

Output as a Verb

The act of producing can be called output as well. In information technology, output can be used as a transitive verb. It means a computer or printer produces information on screen or paper. As a transitive verb, output should have an object as the following examples show. For its past form, either output or outputted is used.

The printer isoutputting colored images.

Our computer outputs data every day.

My old laptop could not output information as fast as before.

When to Use Outcome

Outcome as a Noun

The result of an action or event can be called an outcome. As it is somewhat formal, outcome is more widely used in writing than everyday communication. In mathematics, an outcome is one of the probable results in an experiment. The following are some collocations with outcome:

  • final outcome – the last result
  • health outcome – how healthy a person is after undergoing some treatment
  • learning outcome – what one is expected to learn from something 
  • positive outcome – a good result
  • successful outcome – achieving the result desired or wanted

Illicit affairs have devastating outcomes.

Our discussion had a happy outcome.

There’s no way we can predict the outcome of the war.

Output vs. Outcome: Which One Is Correct?

Knowing the difference between output and outcome is not difficult. When talking about production or products produced by people or machines, the word that should be used is output. Output can also be used as a verb in IT to mean producing output. On the other hand, outcome is the result, effect, or consequence of an action, event, or situation.


Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Output. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/output

Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Outcome. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/outcome

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Output. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/output

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Outcome. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/outcome

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Output. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/output

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Outcome. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/outcome