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Re: Book it, booking on

Posted by ESC on November 04, 2003

In Reply to: Re: He booked posted by Word Camel on November 04, 2003

: : When I hear the detectives say "he booked" meaning he has left I always wonder how it go that meaning?

: I am not sure if that is the way it is spelled since I have only ever heard it. It is slang meaning to run fast. I used to hear people use it to describe running in football games when I was cheerleader (she mumbled embarrassedly). "Did you see Bozeman? He was bookin'! They didn't stop him until he got to the three [yard line]."

A couple of references associate "book it" meaning to move fast with "book it" meaning to study or "hit the books." ("Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner" by Geneva Smitherman, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1994; and "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.) Random House says "book it" is influenced by "boogie." Both sources say the phrase dates back to the 1970s. That's when I first heard it.

I am not clear on how that would have evolved - from studying to moving fast.