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 Ancient Greek σκέδασις (skédasis, “scattering”), σκεδασμός (skedasmós, “dispersion”). Possibly related to scud or scat.
- (informal, intransitive, US) To move or run away quickly.
- (transitive, regional) To spill; to scatter.
- (move or run away quickly): flee, vamoose, scat, take off, make tracks, get lost, kick rocks, hightail; see also Thesaurus:move quickly, Thesaurus:rush or Thesaurus:flee
skedaddle (plural skedaddles)
- (informal) The act of running away; a scurrying off.
- 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, 7 February 2004.