Diddley Squat??

Here’s a fun word: Absquatulate

As in, “Her daddy had a shotgun because we all thought Hank would absquatulate before the wedding.”

Or, “I think you forgot to tie up your horse, pardner, because he seems to have absquatulated.”

Or, “The police caught those scoundrel bank robbers before they had a chance to absquatulate with all the money.”

Say it with me (it’s really fun to say) … absquatulate.

What the heck does it mean?

Absquatulate. (ab–skwoch–uh– leyt) Verb. Slang.
To flee; abscond.

Where did this strange, but perfectly delightful, word come from?

It seems those zany folks back in the early 1800s just loved to engage in fanciful wordplay and make up clever mock-Latinate words. Shakespeare himself did it even earlier than that (good ol’ William—always beating everyone to the punch). A mock-Latinate word is a slang or humorous word that’s been made up by putting parts of different words together, the way many English words are made up of their Latin roots.

This particular word is thought to have been formed from three parts: ab (as in abscond, meaning off or away), squat (meaning sit or settle), and ulate (meaning to walk or move, as in perambulate)—all resulting in a strange and wonderful word meaning to get away or move away quickly.

Fanciful, indeed!

Although this word first appeared in the 1830s, I think it’s fun to apply to it everyday life now. Hmm … let’s see, how can we do that?

How about, “Judging by the amount of snow on the ground, it seems that spring has absquatulated before it even arrived.”  (I just looked out the window and this one came to mind.)

Or, “Sometimes when things get too crazy, I just want to absquatulate to my garden, where all I can hear is the friendly hum of the honeybees.”

I like it.

Leave a comment 2 Comments

  1. Shery says:

    Well, I’d sure never heard THAT word before. If I’d had to guess the meaning…maybe not doing ‘squat’ :o) Now I have a more refined word to subsitute for scram, vamoose, split, skidaddle :o)

  2. Eileen Widman says:

    I would like to “Absquatulate” to a warmer place today!

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