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19th century US. Probably an alteration of British dialect scaddle (to run off in a fright), from the adjective scaddle (wild, timid, skittish), from Middle English scathel, skadylle (harmful, fierce, wild), perhaps of Scandinavian origin, from Old Norse *sköþull; or from Old English *scaþol, *sceaþol (see scathel); akin to Old Norse skaði (harm). Possibly related to the Greek σκέδασις (skédasis, scattering), σκεδασμός (skedasmós, dispersion). (US) Possibly related to scud or scat.



skedaddle (third-person singular simple present skedaddles, present participle skedaddling, simple past and past participle skedaddled)

  1. (intransitive) To move or run away quickly.
    The sheep skedaddled as soon as the shepherd’s dog came near.



See also[edit]


  • 1897, Hunter, Robert, and Charles Morris, editors, Universal Dictionary of the English Language, v4, p4291: "Etym. doubtful; perhaps allied to scud. To betake one's self hurriedly to flight; to run away as in a panic; to fly in terror. (A word of American origin.)"
  • Skedaddle” in Michael Quinion, World Wide Words[1], 7 February 2004.