When you think about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, associate a rout with the agonizing defeat. A rout is the kind of humiliating loss that makes you wish you would have been injured in the first quarter so you could have avoided the outcome.
One way to remember the meaning of the word rout is to consider its similarity to the word riot, both suggesting a disastrous mess. Rout can be used as either a noun or a verb: "The losing team suffered during a rout while the winning team routed them!" This word can also be used to refer to an unruly mob of people, like a disorderly rout of sports fans involved in a stampede onto the field.