Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
To depart very quickly. The phrase refers to the way some animals raise their tails when fleeing. We hightailed it out of the party when we heard police sirens approaching. I hightailed it to the store for cleaning supplies when I heard that my mother-in-law was coming to town.
Go as fast as possible, especially in leaving; rush off. For example, With the police now searching for them, they hightailed it out of town, or When Jane remembered it was his birthday, she hightailed it to the bakery for a cake. This expression alludes to the raised tail of a rabbit or other animal that is fleeing. [Colloquial; late 1800s]
ˈhightail it(informal, especially American English) leave somewhere very quickly: As soon as the bell went for the end of lessons, Jack ran out of the school gates and hightailed it for home.
This is a comparison with the way some animals raise their tails when they are running away.
To hurry or flee.