Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 13, 2019 is:
abscond • ab-SKAHND • verb
: to depart secretly and hide oneself
“The camera tracked [the black bear] as he moved in a sturdy lurch, … holding his dangling, unnecessary arms close to his chest like a mime absconding with a snatched purse.” — Jon Mooallem, The New York Times Magazine, 21 Dec. 2016
“The historian Plutarch wrote that about a million Gauls were killed in the campaign and another million enslaved. Some Gallic fighters may have absconded to Britannia—not yet governed by the Roman Empire—rather than face the legions.” — Isaac Schultz, Atlas Obscura, 30 July 2019
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.”