ab·​scond | \ ab-ˈskänd How to pronounce abscond (audio) , əb- \
absconded; absconding; absconds

Definition of abscond

intransitive verb

: to depart secretly and hide oneself He absconded with the stolen money.

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Other Words from abscond

absconder noun

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First appearing in English in the 17th century, abscond derives from Latin abscondere, meaning "to hide away," a product of the prefix ab- and condere, a verb meaning "to conceal." (Condere is also the root for recondite, a word meaning "concealed" as well as "hard to understand" or "obscure.") In general usage, abscond refers to any act of running away and hiding (usually from the law and often with funds), but, in legal circles, the word is used specifically when someone who has already become the focus of a legal proceeding hides or takes off in order to evade the legal process (as in "absconded from parole").

Examples of abscond in a Sentence

The suspect absconded to Canada. Several prisoners absconded from the jail.
Recent Examples on the Web Thirty-five others chose not to abscond during the attack, authorities said. Nimi Princewill, CNN, 6 Apr. 2021 Following Fa's arrest, Lao used multiple aliases to abscond across the country. Rhea Mogul, CNN, 22 Dec. 2020 Even more important, only slaves that lived near free states, whether Northern ones or Mexico, were likely to abscond. Eric Herschthal, The New Republic, 7 Dec. 2020 In 2012, Augusta patron Clayton Baker ducked under the ropes lining the 10th fairway and tried to abscond with a beer cup full of bunker sand. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 11 Nov. 2020 However, Snyder, the Yale professor, whose specialty is antidemocratic regimes in Eastern Europe, believes that Trump might well abscond to a foreign country that has no extradition treaty with the U.S. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 1 Nov. 2020 What that means in practice is parents seeking custody of their children only need to abscond with the kids to a new location and deny the other parent access. Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2020 But then that older mentor, a blue-eyed American film director named Georges Cordona, absconded with 70 16-millimeter film canisters, dashing Tan’s moviemaking dreams. Scott Tobias, New York Times, 17 Apr. 2020 In perhaps the strangest twist of all, Mikovits was briefly arrested after absconding with her lab notebooks and computer files—legally the property of the institute. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 8 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abscond.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abscond

1652, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abscond

borrowed from Latin abscondere "to conceal, hide," from abs- (variant of ab- ab- before c- and t-) + condere "to put, store up, put away, conceal" — more at recondite

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Time Traveler for abscond

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The first known use of abscond was in 1652

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Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abscond.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abscond. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for abscond


intransitive verb
ab·​scond | \ ab-ˈskänd, əb- How to pronounce abscond (audio) \

Legal Definition of abscond

: to depart secretly : withdraw and hide oneself specifically : to evade the legal process of a court by hiding within or secretly leaving its jurisdiction absconded with the funds abscond from New York abscond to Canada

Other Words from abscond

absconder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on abscond

Nglish: Translation of abscond for Spanish Speakers


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