verb (used without object), skat·ed, skat·ing.

verb (used with object), skat·ed, skat·ing.

to slide (a flat) across the floor of a stage.


    get/put one's skates on, British Informal. to make haste.
    skate on thin ice, to be or place oneself in a risky or delicate situation: Taking a public stand on the question would be skating on thin ice.

Origin of skate

1640–50; orig. plural scates < Dutch schaats (singular) skate, Middle Dutch schaetse stilt (compare Medieval Latin scatia) < ?
Related formsskate·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for put one's skates on




the steel blade or runner of an ice skate
such a blade fitted with straps for fastening to a shoe
a current collector on an electric railway train that collects its current from a third railCompare bow collector
get one's skates on to hurry

verb (intr)

to glide swiftly on skates
to slide smoothly over a surface
skate on thin ice to place oneself in a dangerous or delicate situation

Word Origin for skate

C17: via Dutch from Old French éschasse stilt, probably of Germanic origin



noun plural skate or skates

any large ray of the family Rajidae, of temperate and tropical seas, having flat pectoral fins continuous with the head, two dorsal fins, a short spineless tail, and a long snout

Word Origin for skate

C14: from Old Norse skata




US slang a person; fellow

Word Origin for skate

from Scottish and northern English dialect skate, a derogatory term of uncertain 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 put one's skates on



"type of flat, cartilaginous fish, a kind of ray," mid-14c., from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse skata "skate," Danish skade, Faeroese skøta, of unknown origin.



"ice skate," 1660s, skeates "ice skates," from Dutch schaats (plural schaatsen), a singular mistaken in English for plural, from Middle Dutch schaetse. The word and the custom were brought to England after the Restoration by exiled followers of Charles II who had taken refuge in Holland.

The Dutch word is from Old North French escache "a stilt, trestle," related to Old French eschace "stilt" (French échasse), from Frankish *skakkja "stilt" or a similar Germanic source (cf. Frisian skatja "stilt"), perhaps literally "thing that shakes or moves fast" and related to root of Old English sceacan "to vibrate" (see shake (v.)). Or perhaps [Klein] the Dutch word is connected to Middle Low German schenke, Old English scanca "leg" (see shank). Sense alteration in Dutch from "stilt" to "skate" is not clearly traced. Sense in English extended to roller-skates by 1876. Meaning "an act of skating" is from 1853.



1690s, "to ice-skate," from skate (n.2). U.S. slang sense of "to get away with something" is attested from 1945. Related: Skated; skating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with put one's skates on


In addition to the idiom beginning with skate

  • skate over

also see:

  • cheap skate
  • on thin ice, skate
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.