In baseball, an out occurs when the umpire rules a batter or baserunner out. When a batter or runner is out, they lose their ability to score a run and must return to the dugout until their next turn at bat. When three outs are recorded in a half-inning, the batting team's turn expires.
To signal an out, an umpire generally makes a fist with one hand, and then flexes that arm either upward, particularly on pop flies, or forward, particularly on routine plays at first base. Home plate umpires often use a "punch-out" motion to signal a called strikeout.
In baseball statistics, each out must be credited to exactly one defensive player, namely the player who was the direct cause of the out. When referring to outs credited to a defensive player, the term putout is used. Example: a batter hits a fair ball that is fielded by the shortstop. The shortstop then throws the ball to the first baseman. The first baseman then steps on first base before the batter reaches it. For this play, only the first baseman is credited with a putout, while the shortstop is credited with an assist. For a strikeout, the catcher is credited with a putout, because the batter is not out until the pitched ball is caught by the catcher. (If the catcher drops the third strike and has to throw the batter-runner out at the first base, the first baseman receives the putout while the catcher receives an assist.) When an out is recorded without a fielder's direct involvement, such as where a runner is hit by a batted ball, the fielder nearest to the action is usually credited with the putout.
Although pitchers seldom get credited with putouts, they are credited with their role in getting outs through various pitching statistics such as innings pitched (a measure of the number of outs made by the pitcher, used in calculating their ERA) and strikeouts.
Certain terms are sometimes used to better describe the circumstances under which an out occurred.
For strike outs:
For force outs and/or tag outs (outs that retire runners):
For fly outs: