take a powder

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take a powder

To leave a place very quickly and often discreetly. Sometimes used as an imperative. Realizing they would blame him for the error, Jim took a powder while everyone's attention was diverted. I recommend you take a powder before things start getting dangerous.
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take a powder

Sl. to leave; to leave town. (Underworld.) Why don't you take a powder? Go on! Beat it! Willie took a powder and will lie low for a while.
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take a powder

Make a speedy departure, run away, as in I looked around and he was gone-he'd taken a powder. This slangy idiom may be derived from the British dialect sense of powder as "a sudden hurry," a usage dating from about 1600. It may also allude to the explosive quality of gunpowder.
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take a powder

AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If you take a powder, you leave a place very quickly and usually secretly. I knew that even if they realized I'd taken a powder, they wouldn't go looking for me.
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take a powder

depart quickly, especially in order to avoid a difficult situation. North American informal
2002 New York Times Why don't you take a powder, jerk, or how'd you like a knuckle sandwich?
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take a ˈpowder

(American English, informal) leave suddenly; run away: She hung about all morning getting in my way, so in the end I told her to take a powder.
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take a powder

tv. to leave; to leave town. (Underworld.) Bruno took a powder and will lie low for a while.
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take a powder

To make a quick departure; run away.
See also: powder, take

take a powder, to

To leave quickly. The origin of this expression is obscure, even though it is relatively recent (twentieth century). Since about 1600 a powder has meant “a hurry,” possibly derived from the speed of gunpowder. “Ile sett you in with a powder,” that is, with a rush, appears in a play, Club Law (ca. 1600), by an unknown writer. This meaning persisted well into the nineteenth century, mainly in Britain. In the 1920s, however, in popular literature, characters departing in haste were said to take a runout powder. P. G. Wodehouse used it in Money in the Bank (1942), “And have him take a runout powder? Be yourself, lady.” One writer has suggested this might refer to a laxative, but that interpretation seems unlikely. Moreover, the French have a similar expression, Prendre la poudre d’escampette, “To take the scampering powder,” or, in more idiomatic terms, “to bolt.”
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Take a powder!

Scram! This tough-guy phrase came from the days when a ladies' bathroom was euphemistically called the powder room, the place where women went, among other reasons, to apply makeup. As gangster movies would have us believe, a lady's escort who wanted to discuss a matter in privacy with another gent told her to “take a powder.” Similarly, a genteel way to say you were going to the ladies' room was “I'm going to powder my nose.”
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