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verb (used without object), ske·dad·dled, ske·dad·dling.
  1. to run away hurriedly; flee.
  1. a hasty flight.

Origin of skedaddle

1860–65, Americanism; compare dial. (Scots, N England) skedaddle to spill, scatter, skiddle to move away quickly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for skedaddle


  1. (intr) to run off hastily
  1. a hasty retreat

Word Origin

C19: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for skedaddle


"to run away," 1861, American Civil War military slang, of unknown origin, perhaps connected to earlier use in northern England dialect with a meaning "to spill." Liberman says it "has no connection with any word of Greek, Irish, or Swedish, and it is not a blend" [contra De Vere]. He calls it instead an "enlargement of dial. scaddle 'scare, frighten.'" Related: Skedaddled; skedaddling. As a noun from 1870.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper