In the sentences below:

The result of a man's jumping from the 10th floor is death.

The outcome of a man's jumping from the 10th floor is death.

They seem the same in the sentences above, what's the difference between them?

edit: The answer that reads:

"Result is preferable if you are describing what you get after following an organized or orderly process..."

It suggests result applies in a usual causation , but what shall it used when describing something abruptly happen like the one in my sentence mentioned? is it correct to say the death is an result of jumping off?


"Outcome can imply something was happening but no one party was in total control of things."

So it implies outcome should be used when things are unpredictable, but in my sentence above, isn't the outcome of death inevitable? and is it prosper to use outcome to refer to the aftermath of jumping off?

So my question is, what's the difference between them(the two sentences in comparision above)?

Any comment and answer regarding the question are appreciated. Please help to clear this confusion, thanks.

  • Both "meeting outcome" and "meeting result" sound strange and non-fluent to this native US English speaker. They're not wrong, exactly, but "outcome of the meeting" or "result of the meeting" sound much more natural.
    – stangdon
    Jul 11, 2016 at 15:22
  • Agree with @stangdon. The reason is that compound nouns can sometimes sound unnatural. Some are idiomatic, like "bread box" or "bike rack", but some are not, like "meeting outcome". When compounds sound un-natural, it's best to say "Y of the X" instead of "X Y". Jul 2, 2019 at 10:24

4 Answers 4


To add another answer, not because the others are wrong, but because I think they miss the main nuance for my differentiation of these terms:

Most often, a result is the consequence of one or more causes. It insists on the causality. This is also the heart of the particulate verb "result in", i.e. "to cause", "to bring about" or "to directly lead to".

On the other hand, an outcome is the final state of a given situation or setup. There doesn't need to be a direct cause, but various factors and events. In fact, there's a faint hint of denying knowledge of the exact reason it came about. An outcome is "how things turned out" or "what ended up happening".

Hence, if we take your example sentence on its own, "result" is preferable. The man jumps, and the direct consequence is that he dies. "Outcome" would produce the unusual suggestion that there are other factors in the man's death than jumping from the the 10th floor, or that the between jumping and dying there's a complicated process in which various things might happen.

But context is everything. If a person jumps from a high enough point, survives the fall with serious injuries, and is taken to the hospital where he receives various kinds of medical attention, then it would be very appropriate to say that the "outcome" was death. So it depends on what other facts you know about the case and where you want to put the emphasis.


There is not much difference between these words.

Result is preferable if you are describing what you get after following an organized or orderly process. People or things can be said to produce results - but "producing outcomes" sounds weird.

Outcome can imply something was happening but no one party was in total control of things. E.g. "What was the outcome of the game?" But result works as well in most instances.

  • 4
    I think "result" can also be used when expressing an end-product, while "outcome" is usually for end circumstances.
    – Harris
    Jul 11, 2016 at 19:29
  • @HarrisWeinstein I used to think exactly contrary to you.
    – A-friend
    Jul 24, 2016 at 8:09

Here are links to the definitions in Cambridge:

A result is mostly something that occurs when we want it, or when we are expecting it or when we are making effort to get something while outcome is mostly something that happens unexpectedly - unforeseen consequences, something that isn't what we aimed for, or something unusual as a result; an effect or result that occurred because of something happened, because of some action, event or situation.

  • The outcome of the experiment - may refer to either the result that was aimed for or a result that wasn't quite expected, something that was unforeseen (quote "Unforeseen consequences" from Half-Life chapters); the way things turned out; a consequence.
  • The result of his work - may or may not refer to something that happened because he wanted it or to the outcome that wasn't satisfactory. It may mean "a good or pleasing effect" or "a bad or unpleasant effect".

With the word "outcome" usually "unpleasant things/effects/situations" are associated while with the word "result" usually "pleasant things/effects/situations" are associated. However, in most cases they are relatively close in meaning.

Consider such examples:

  • The outcome of a collision with an asteroid will be tragic for our planet. (Places stress on something very unpleasant, something that needs to be resolved; mid-term results, something that cannot be seen immediately after the collision - the change to our planet that will occur afterwards)
  • The result of a collision with an asteroid will be tragic for our planet. (Places stress on the mathematical calculations, information that may have been got from an experiment)

"Outcome" is usually used in place of a "result of an action" and is closer to "consequences" and "effects" while "Result" is closer to "conclusions" or "output".

As WikiDiff says:

As nouns the difference between outcome and result is that outcome is information, event, object or state of being produced as a result or consequence of a plan, process, accident, effort or other similar action or occurrence while result is that which results; the conclusion or end to which any course or condition of things leads, or which is obtained by any process or operation; consequence or effect.


Result is systematic (or analytic), and thus there is a discernible/predictable correlation between cause and effect.

Outcome is systemic, which lacks a discernible/predictable correlation between cause and effect.

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