va·​moose | \ və-ˈmüs How to pronounce vamoose (audio) , va- \
vamoosed; vamoosing

Definition of vamoose

intransitive verb

: to depart quickly

Keep scrolling for more

Vamoose Has Wild West Origins

In the 1820s and '30s, the American Southwest was rough-and-tumble territory—the true Wild West. English-speaking cowboys, Texas Rangers, and gold prospectors regularly rubbed elbows with Spanish-speaking vaqueros in the local saloons, and a certain amount of linguistic intermixing was inevitable. One Spanish term that caught on with English speakers was vamos, which means "let's go." Cowpokes and dudes alike adopted the word, at first using a range of spellings and pronunciations that varied considerably in their proximity to the original Spanish form. But when the dust settled, the version most American English speakers were using was vamoose.

Examples of vamoose in a Sentence

it's getting late, so we had better vamoose
Recent Examples on the Web In November, the owner of the building housing Trump’s SoHo hotel in Manhattan paid the Trump Organization to vamoose. Chas Danner, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s D.C. Hotel Had Fewer Guests, Higher Prices Than Peers Last Year," 27 Jan. 2018 The Senate left town for its August recess Thursday, a week after the House vamoosed, and let’s hope the Members get an earful from constituents at home. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Republican Failure," 4 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of vamoose

1859, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vamoose

borrowed from Spanish vamos "let us go," suppletive 1st person plural imperative (going back to Latin vadimus, 1st person plural present indicative of vadere "to proceed, go") of ir "to go," going back to Latin īre — more at wade entry 1, issue entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vamoose

Time Traveler for vamoose

Time Traveler

The first known use of vamoose was in 1859

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about vamoose

Statistics for vamoose

Cite this Entry

“Vamoose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on vamoose

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vamoose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vamoose

Comments on vamoose

What made you want to look up vamoose? 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

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
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!