Merriam Webster Word of the Day: Vamoose

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is vamoose. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Vamoose is an informal word that means “to depart quickly.”

// With the sheriff and his posse hot on their tails, the bank robbers knew they had better vamoose.

VAMOOSE in Context

“[Ali S.] Khan’s group packed fast and vamoosed on a small airplane, which rose straight into a thrashing thunderstorm.” — David Quammen, The New Yorker, May 4, 2020

Did You Know?

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.

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