outcome is defined as "the way a thing turns out" by "Google: define outcome". What does "the way" mean here? What does "turn out" mean here?
The word "how" could be substituted for "the way"; and the phrase "ends up" could be used in place of "turns out." So, an alternate definition would be:
outcome (n.) – how something ends up
It might be easier to explain by using the word outcome in context.
The election had a very questionable outcome.
Remember, outcome means "the way a thing turns out," or "how something ends up". In that sentence:
- The "thing" (or "something") is the election.
- "The way it turned out" (or "how it ended up") is with a questionable result. (In this context, questionable could mean two things: It could mean that the election was so close, a winner has not yet been determined; or, it could mean that foul play is suspected, and that observers don't believe it was a fair election.
Now, a more complex example:
A more recent study found that the most predictive factor for a favorable outcome for adolescents was length of treatment, even when patient problem severity was statistically controlled. (Gallanter and Allen, 2003)
- The "thing" (or "something") is the treatment for a disorder.
- "The way it turned out" (or "how it ended up") is favorable – meaning the patients either no longer had the disorder, or else it was less severe.
The sentence is reporting the results of the study: the longer an adolescent patient is treated, the more likely that patient will be cured.
Turn out - Prove to be the case
The job turned out to be beyond his rather limited abilities
Way - A method, style, or manner of doing something; an optional or alternative form of action
- I hated their way of cooking potatoes
- There are two ways of approaching this problem
And "the" in "the way" refers to that particular "way". Does it help?
Outcome means, simply, what happens with regard to a particular event.
Police launched an investigation. The outcome was that they decided Mr X was the murderer.
The outcome of my pay review was that I got a 5% salary increase.
Let's break it down.
the way a thing turns out
- the way - the way something happens means how something happens. So now we have
how a thing turns out
how [something] turns out - the end result of [something]. So now we have
the final result of a thing
a thing - you have to be talking about a particular event, circumstance or situation in order to talk about its outcome. It has to be an outcome of something.
In my examples above, the first example talks about the outcome of the investigation. The second example is speaking about the outcome of the pay review. Note that in the first example you don't need to say "outcome of the investigation" because it's clear from context which outcome you are talking about.
So we can finally rephrase to:
the final result of a situation
And that's what outcome means.