Attested since the 1830s in American English, a jocular mock-Latin word. Blend of abscond + squat + perambulate, as ab- (“away (from)”) (as in abscond) + squat + *-ulate (as in perambulate, properly -ate), hence meaning “get up (from a squat) and depart (quickly)”. The middle portion was perhaps influenced by -le (“(frequentative)”) and the dialectal term squattle (“depart”); compare contemporary skedaddle.
- (intransitive, slang) To leave quickly or in a hurry; to depart, flee. [from 19th c.]
- 1840 January 9, “The President's Message, No. 2”, in Lincoln Telegraph, volume IV, number 41, Bath, Maine, page 3:
- Even within the past year, several Land Officers and keepers of public monies--the Collector of New Orleans and Plattsburg--the Post Masters of Mobile and Worcester have made serious and prominent additions to the long catalogue of absquatulating defaulters.
- 1910, H. G. Wells, The history of Mr. Polly:
- " […] Now I see you again—I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied completely. See? I’m going to absquatulate, see? Hey Presto right away.”
He turned to his tea for a moment, finished his cup noisily, stood up.
- (intransitive, slang) to abscond.
- Michael Quinion (3 August 2002), “Absquatulate”, in World Wide Words.
- ^ New Orleans Weekly Picayune, December 1839
- ^ Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “absquatulate”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 9.