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 Take a walk in Capote’s footsteps here, and then abscond to a plush guest room to watch the Black and White Ball episode in the very hotel it was created for. Jamie Spain, Condé Nast Traveler, 13 Feb. 2024 But even the Huntington was hit five years ago when a thief absconded with a bonsai tree under a blanket in a baby stroller. Will McCarthy, The Mercury News, 4 Feb. 2024 In 2018, Sharif traveled to London on bail for medical treatment but absconded and remained a fugitive in exile. Charlie Campbell, TIME, 17 Jan. 2024 But the Kashmiri chef was always more content outside of the city, frequently absconding to the Himalayas to forage dandelion greens for tasting menus at his restaurant Masque. Caitie Kelly Sarah Khan Kin Woo Angela Koh Lauren Joseph Gisela Williams, New York Times, 4 Jan. 2024 Later, prosecutors did not make the request again before Hertzfeld, despite the teen having absconded from the shelter house, Buchanan said. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2023 Trump has lived and worked in New York, Washington and Florida, where he is accused of falsifying business records, conspiring to overturn the 2020 election and absconding with classified documents, respectively. Erik Larson, Arkansas Online, 14 Aug. 2023 Ursa ran away then, and later Ray and his girlfriend, Cherry, do the same, absconding to Los Angeles. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 31 July 2023 Cavalcante absconded from the Chester County Prison in southeastern Pennsylvania on Aug. 31, while awaiting transfer to a state prison to serve a life sentence without parole for fatally stabbing an ex-girlfriend in 2021. Aicha El Hammar Castano, ABC News, 13 Sep. 2023 See More

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 25 Feb. 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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