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.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from abscond

absconder noun

Did You Know?

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 Had the financial adviser absconded to a south-of-the-border resort with our meagre savings, my husband, who had also noticed the lightweight shirt and the swaying curtains, wondered jokingly, once the call was over? Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Embracing the Chaotic Side of Zoom," 20 Apr. 2020 But lawyers say visits outside DCF offices are not often granted, despite a low risk of parents absconding with or harming a child. BostonGlobe.com, "DCF moves busy offices away from city centers, making it harder for parents to see kids - The Boston Globe," 30 Oct. 2019 Some allege that this is merely a way for their competitors to abscond with valuable intellectual property. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "What is the US getting out of Trump’s trade war with China? Not much," 18 Nov. 2019 Because diamonds are portable, universally valuable and virtually untraceable, a would-be purchaser on credit could easily abscond with a cache of diamonds. Barak Richman, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Manhattan’s Diamond District Continues To Operate Like an Old World Bazaar," 16 Jan. 2020 The city has long been a welcoming place for members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, and also, traditionally, metropolitan adulterers absconding to the seaside for a dirty weekend. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Flush," 10 Jan. 2020 Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who absconded for a holiday as the fires raged in December, has warned the crisis could continue for months. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Plant-Based Meats Are Eating More Menu Space And It’s Not Just Because of Veganuary," 9 Jan. 2020 Clients have taken to social media ever since to claim the death and loss of the password were staged in an attempt to abscond with their digital coin. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Exhume dead cryptocurrency exec who owes us $250 million, creditors demand," 17 Dec. 2019 When Wichita returns with the news that Little Rock absconded to Graceland with a pacifist hippie, Berkeley (Avan Jogia), the group gives chase. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Will ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ be the nail in the coffin of the undead genre?," 16 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about abscond

Time Traveler for abscond

Time Traveler

The first known use of abscond was in 1652

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about abscond

Statistics for abscond

Last Updated

4 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abscond.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abscond. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for abscond

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on abscond

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abscond

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abscond

Spanish Central: Translation of abscond

Nglish: Translation of abscond for Spanish Speakers

Comments on abscond

What made you want to look up abscond? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!