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    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 1

    Skedadle - get along with you now!

    I am looking for the origin of the well know word "skedadle" - as in "get along with you, or get out of here." I have no knowledge of the spelling or the origin. Anyway I try to spell it I come up empty handed. But we all used it in rural California back in the 1950s. And ideas.



    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: Skedadle - get along with you now!

    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." nb spelling

  1. Ouisch's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 4,142

    Re: Skedadle - get along with you now!

    According to "Etymology of Skedaddle and Related Terms," in _Studies in Slang_,
    Part I (by Gerald Leonard Cohen), Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang,
    1985, pp.29-63:

    "Skedaddle" existed in Scottish and North English dialects already
    prior to the Civil War with the meaning "spill, scatter." For
    example, the _Atlantic Monthly_, August 1877, pp.233-234:

    "...But my English friends lost no time in upsetting my hypothesis
    [about "skedaddle" being an American word that cropped up in the
    Civil War]. 'Why,' they exclaimed, 'we used to live in Lancashire
    and heard _skedaddle_ every day of our lives. It means to scatter,
    or drop in a scattering way. If you run with a basket of potatoes or
    apples and keep spilling some of them in an irregular way along the
    path, you are said to skedaddle them. Or if you carry drops of milk
    on the stair-carpet, to mark your upward course and awaken the ire of
    the housekeeper, you are said to have skedaddled the milk.'

    "This seemed to be conclusive...evidently the Harvard student in
    the army of the Potomac did not introduce the word _skedaddle_. It
    was a provincial English word, and probably dragged out an obscure
    existence in some corner of our vast country until the time when
    somebody applied it in a pat or appropriate way that solicited way
    that solicited general attention, and then the word became famous.


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