23 skidoo

(redirected from twenty-three skidoo)
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23 skidoo

To clear out or get away in haste before getting into or causing trouble, referring either to oneself or to another. "23" may refer to the Flatirons Building in New York City (located on 23rd Street), around which great winds tend to blow. It may also derive from an older use meaning to tell someone to clear out of one's way. Primarily heard in US. It looks like there's trouble brewing here. I'd better 23 skidoo! Quit loitering around here. 23 skidoo!
See also: 23, skidoo

23-skiddoo!

No one knows the origin of this phrase that started in the early 20th century. If it had started in the 1920s, when it was at its height of popularity, one might have thought it was a way to bid farewell to the year 1923. But both “23” and “skidoo” already existed as slang for getting out (or away) in a hurry. Speculation about the origin includes the California mining town of Skidoo that had 23 saloons; going to town to hit them all might have been done without wasting time. Another thought is that construction workers at the Flatiron Building on Manhattan's West 23rd Street used the phrase to signal each other that an attractive young woman was passing. But no one knows for sure.
References in periodicals archive ?
Terence Hawkes displays his customary wit and sharpness of mind with a piece intriguingly entitled "Twenty-three Skidoo: Bringing Home the Bard." A note explains that "Twenty-three Skidoo" is an old-fashioned American colloquialism which means "That's it" or "Let's go." The article starts with an account of a monument's inauguration on the same day, 23 April 1932, on both sides of the Atlantic, with the opening of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, and the opening of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
What this tells you is that wherever people are, they will take the language and make it theirs by coming up with phrases like "Twenty-three skidoo" (a 19th Century phrase telling people to get away), "horse dookie" (an American word for nonsense) and "see ning-ning" (a Caribbean phrase that describes people reeling from a shock).
What this tells you is that wherever people are, they will take the language and make it theirs by coming up with phrases like "Twenty-three skidoo" (a 19th-century phrase telling people to get away), "horse dookie" (an American word for nonsense) and "see ning-ning" (a Caribbean phrase that describes people reeling from a shock).