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?

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.") Abscond retained the meaning of its Latin parent when it was first used in English in the 17th century. 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."

Example Sentences

The suspect absconded to Canada. Several prisoners absconded from the jail.
Recent Examples on the Web The Batman seems to abscond from this, building up a Gotham that’s already knee deep in classic staples. Daniel Dockery, Vulture, 1 Mar. 2022 Around the same time, a hacker exploited a software flaw in a DeFi project called Wormhole to abscond with $320 million. David Yaffe-bellany, New York Times, 26 Sep. 2022 In one common scheme, called a rug pull, investors deposit money into a smart contract only for its creators to abscond with the funds. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, 27 Oct. 2022 However, the program is seen by critics as not particularly effective, as many of the migrants eventually abscond and disappear into the interior of the country. Kelly Laco, Fox News, 30 Aug. 2022 Husqvarna’s device sounds an alarm if someone tries to abscond with the mower and has a GPS device built in. Chris Morris, Fortune, 19 July 2022 Our Reviews of the 10 Best-Picture Oscar Nominees Before that, but after the Oscars, Buckley plans to abscond to her 500-year-old house in rural England. New York Times, 22 Mar. 2022 Even fraudsters holding billions in crypto won’t blush at the chance to abscond with a little more fiat. Ben Mckenzie, The New Republic, 10 Mar. 2022 After his many years of romantic hijinks, none of us should be surprised if Mr. Big actually faked his death to abscond with his Peloton instructor, yet again leaving Carrie to pick up the pieces on her own. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, 13 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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 5 Feb. 2023.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?