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Either borrowed from Middle French abscondre or directly from Latin abscondō (hide); formed from abs, ab (away) + condō (put together, store), from con- (together) + *dʰeh₁- (to put, place, set).[1]

  • Cognate with sconce (a type of light fixture).



abscond (third-person singular simple present absconds, present participle absconding, simple past and past participle absconded)

  1. (intransitive, reflexive) To flee, often secretly; to steal away, particularly to avoid arrest or prosecution. [From mid 16th century.][2]
    Synonyms: flee, run away, steal away
    The thieves absconded with our property.
  2. (intransitive) To withdraw from. [From mid 16th century.][2]
    • 2006, Richard Rojcewicz, The Gods And Technology: A Reading Of Heidegger, →ISBN:
      Modern technology accompanies the absconding of the original attitude.
    • 2009, Sonia Brill, Relationships Without Anger, →ISBN:
      You cannot abscond from the responsibility both you and your partner owe to this event, and that includes dealing with anger issues and any other emotional issues that come with it.
  3. (transitive) To evade, to hide or flee from.
    The captain absconded his responsibility.
    • 2006, Aldo E. Chircop, Olof Lindén, Places of Refuge for Ships, →ISBN:
      If the distress situation is solved successfully, the anonymous shipowner will reap the commercial benefit, if the situation ends in disaster, the shipowner will hide behind an anonymous post box in a foreign country and will abscond responsibility.
    • 2008, Somar, The Mystical Harvest, page 431:
      The driver snatched a packet of cigarettes out of the glove compartment and absconded the driver's seat without a word
    • 2007, Vendela Vida, Girls on the Verge: Debutante Dips, Drive-bys, and Other Initiations, page 29:
      Those who evidently did not get invited back to their top choices have already absconded the scene, tripping in their high heels as they ran.
    • 2011, James Morton, Susanna Lobez, Gangland Melbourne, page 47:
      In 1939 she absconded her bail in Melbourne and went to New Zealand, where she also absconded on a charge of stealing diamonds.
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To conceal; to take away. [First attested in the late 16th century.][2]
    Synonym: conceal
    • 1759, William Porterfield, G. Hamilton, John Balfour, editor, treatise on the eye, the manner and phaenomena of vision, volume 2:
      for having applied to the Side of the Head any thin black Body, such as the Brim of a Hat, so as it may abscond the Objects that are upon that Side
    • 1684, John Esquemeling, Henry Powell, The Buccaneers of America, published 2010, page 161:
      They examined every prisoner by himself (who were in all about two hundred and fifty persons) where they had absconded the rest of their goods
  5. (archaic, intransitive, reflexive) To hide, to be in hiding or concealment.
    • 1691-1735, John Ray, The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation[1]:
      the Marmotto, [] which absconds all Winter doth [] live upon its own Fat.

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ Elliott K. Dobbie, C. William Dunmore, Robert K. Barnhart, et al. (editors), Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 2004 [1998], →ISBN), page 4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002) , “abscond”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 8




  1. third-person singular present indicative of abscondre
    il abscondhe hides