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

intransitive verb

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

Did you know?

In “Take the Money and Run,” a 1976 earworm by the Steve Miller Band, the singer punctuates a song about teenage bandits with the catchy refrain “Go on, take the money and run.” Granted, the song probably wouldn’t have charted had it been titled “Abscond,” but the meaning would have been the same. Abscond is a word most often used in formal writing for when someone is running and hiding from the law, often with cash or other ill-gotten gains. In legal circles it’s used specifically when someone flies like an eagle from a jurisdiction to evade the legal process, as in “absconded from parole.” The history of abscond doesn’t evade scrutiny: it comes from the Latin verb abscondere, meaning “to hide away.” (That word’s root is condere, meaning “to conceal.”) Today, whether some joker absconds by going to the country to bury some treasure or by taking a jet airliner beyond the law’s reach, they are, in essence, hiding themselves away.

Examples of abscond in a Sentence

The suspect absconded to Canada. Several prisoners absconded from the jail.
Recent Examples on the Web But, Nicole Brown Simpson’s visible injuries or that Simpson absconded from his Brentwood home when the officer at the scene gave him time to get himself together before arrest got little play. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 11 Apr. 2024 More than 1,500 of them have been deported and around 1,000 have absconded by prying off their ankle monitors, the ICE data show. Hamed Aleaziz, New York Times, 16 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for abscond 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abscond.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1652, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abscond was in 1652


Dictionary Entries Near abscond

Cite this Entry

“Abscond.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abscond. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ab·​scond ab-ˈskänd How to pronounce abscond (audio)
: to leave secretly and hide oneself
absconder noun

Legal Definition


intransitive verb
ab·​scond ab-ˈskänd, əb- How to pronounce abscond (audio)
: 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
absconder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on abscond

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