take a powder

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

take a powder

  1. (idiomatic, US, colloquial) To leave in a hurry; run away; scram; depart without taking leave or notifying anyone, often with a connotation of avoiding something unpleasant or shirking responsibility.
    • 1933, Raymond Chandler, Blackmailers Don't Shoot, Collected Stories, Everyman's Library (2002), p. 20:
      Macdonald spoke slowly, bitterly. "The kidnapping is one too many for me, Costello. I don't want any part of it. I'm takin' a powder from this toy mob. I took a chance that bright boy might side me."
    • 1946, Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, Really the Blues, Payback Press 1999, p. 66:
      First Mrs Hitchcock packed up and took a powder, and there was hell to pay.
    • 1971, Louis-Ferdinand D. Celine, Death on the Installment Plan, p. 446:
      Our idea was that once the storm had subsided we'd take a powder one night with our dough. . . We'd take our stuff and give ourselves a change of air. . . move to a different neighborhood.
    • 1979, Dan McCall, Beecher: A Novel, p. 162:
      "Mr. Tilton said you told him you would take a powder." "Take a powder?" said Henry. "I once heard a man from Nevada tell me he would take a powder, meaning he was leaving town."
    • 2000, Barbara Weltman, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business, p. 271,
      But when you suffer losses, Uncle Sam may take a powder.
    • 2004, Robert Hough, Hogie Wyckoff, The Final Confession of Mabel Stark, p. 418:
      Go on, now. Scram. Take a powder. And don't come back till people on the street start wishing you a good afternoon.

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