In general, this means to do better than some particular benchmark. Mutual Fund XYZ is said to outperform the S&P500 if its return exceeds the S&P500 return. However, this language does not take risk into account. That is, one might have a higher return than the benchmark in a particular year because of higher risk exposure. Outperform is also a term used by analysts to describe the prospects of a particular company. Usually, this means that the company will do better than its industry average. Related: underperform.