to book it out of there

The Lord of Gluttony

Senior Member
Turkish
Greetings,

Would someone please explain the meaning of the phrase "to book it out of there" in the sentence below:

"As I was walking up the stairs, I felt like someone was starting at me from behind, so turned around and stared into the darkness. I got a really bad feeling so I booked it out of there."
Source: A message board

Many thanks!
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It looks like Britons read books and Americans use the term to describe running quickly:
    Not this American. And I've never heard anyone say that. I do find it in a couple of dictionaries of American slang, however. Perhaps it's used more in some parts of the US than in others.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    "To book it" is quite common (as a synonym for "to hurry" or "to hightail it"). It's even a little bit outdated, as slang goes...

    So it does live (at least) in West Coast American. I didn't think it was regional, though; my sense was that it was pretty widespread.
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    >>Americans use the term to describe running quickly

    >>Not this American.

    Your unfamiliarity may result from all that time spent reading books rather than hanging out on street corners. ;)

    >>Perhaps it's used more in some parts of the US than in others

    More than New York City? JustKate from the sticks in Indiana (she'll probably say she's from a BIG city like Indianapolis or something) might be expected to feel that way, but I imagine there's a lot of booking (it) down the street going on in the Big Apple.
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    I must rarely hear anyone say it. And it's not something you'd likely find in my limited reading scope. I'm not sure why I would quickly understand the meaning of "Let's book." Perhaps lucas-sp is correct that it's somewhat outdated, and so its use now lies beyond the reach of any clear memory.

    The aforementioned hightail it or perhaps even skedaddle are more my style if a hasty departure is described, while take off and split are commonly used for more measured movements.

    When I think of a NYC street corner, I typically picture someone standing, suitcase in his hand.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Perhaps lucas-sp is correct that it's somewhat outdated, and so its use now lies beyond the reach of any clear memory.
    That could be. I have vague memories of having used the phrase whilst talking with people I haven't seen since the '70s.
     

    The Lord of Gluttony

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    I understand now. Thanks so much for all answers. :eek:

    Please, let me ask you a last question: What does the pronoun "it" refer to in the sentence "I got a really bad feeling so I booked it out of there."
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    "Booked it" is used exactly the same way as "high-tailed it" in "I high-tailed it out of there" or "beat it" in "Beat it, kid" - and in all three cases, the "it" doesn't really refer to anything. There is probably some official grammar-type term for this, but I don't know what it is.

    I am, by the way, familiar with "booked it," though I haven't heard it in a while. I live near Indianapolis now but I grew up in Southern California, and for me, it has a very SoCal, 1960s-70s feel about it.
     

    ewhite

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    I don't think "book" or "book it" is regional. I think its time has passed. If I remember correctly, one booked a few years after one stopped saying "let's split". So 60s, 70s, slightly seedy slang.
     

    Miss Julie

    Senior Member
    English-U.S.
    I don't say "book it," but I say "book" once in a while to mean "move quickly."

    As a fast-moving train passes: Man, that train is booking.
     
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    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    "book" or "book it" are both quite familar terms to me, though I don't recall having heard either for a while. I have lived all over the US and didn't notice it was a regionalism, but perhaps I just didn't notice.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    "Booked it" is used exactly the same way as "high-tailed it" in "I high-tailed it out of there" or "beat it".
    Interesting - both (booked and high-tailed) are new to me. But interestingly the expressions that I'm familiar with use the same structure with it - I hoofed it out of there, I legged it out of there.
     

    trucker kev the paid tour

    New Member
    American English
    it's a term goes back to the late sixties and seventies it means hightail it out of there. haul ass get moving don't drag your feet get out of Dodge..
    leave quickly and don't ask no questions..
    it also goes as far as moving along at a high rate of speed.

    examples of being at didn't seem like the kind of place we wanted to be so we booked it out of there.
    all right man I'll tell you what we made some good time we didn't care about the cops we had that foot on the floor and we were just bookin it down the highway..
    but basically it has to do with moving quickly
     

    trucker kev the paid tour

    New Member
    American English
    "book" or "book it" are both quite familar terms to me, though I don't recall having heard either for a while. I have lived all over the US and didn't notice it was a regionalism, but perhaps I just didn't notice.
    no kidding pretty far out when that comes into play..
    I saw that and thought wow slip me some skin that is groovy.. lol
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Book (it) seems normal to me. I don't know the last time I heard it but if I heard it I wouldn't think twice about it.

    We knew they were in trouble when we saw them come booking around the corner.
    I legged it out of there
    Why use a leg for running when you can use a book? :p
     

    Logos_

    Senior Member
    English - America
    This is a very common expression in the American South. "She was booking it down the interstate since she was running late to work." "That BMW is really booking (speeding)." Others describe hearing it in New England, the midwest, and the west coast. It seems to be quite widespread so I'm surprised some Americans here seem not to have heard it. I certainly have--probably hundreds of times in fact--and usually in reference to people speeding in their cars.
     
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    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Our daughter's little dog escaped from our house. I quickly posted a query on NextDoor (an app commonly used for neighborhood issues in the US). About 15 minutes later, a neighbor posted that she had seen a dog matching his description booking it down Street X. My spouse jumped in the car and raced down Street X himself and found the dog running around in an intersection of Street X and Major Street Y. Dog was unharmed and very glad to see someone he knew. Dog had covered far more ground that we would have thought, so he was indeed booking it.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    it's a term goes back to the late sixties and seventies it means hightail it out of there. haul ass get moving don't drag your feet get out of Dodge..
    leave quickly and don't ask no questions..
    it also goes as far as moving along at a high rate of speed.

    examples of being at didn't seem like the kind of place we wanted to be so we booked it out of there.
    all right man I'll tell you what we made some good time we didn't care about the cops we had that foot on the floor and we were just bookin it down the highway..
    but basically it has to do with moving quickly
    I think I've heard this use of "book" (verb) before, but I certainly never used the phrase.

    According to the Stack Exchange it started either in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The etymology is uncertain.

    What is the origin of the slang term “book” meaning “leave” or “hurry”?

    What is the origin of the slang term “book” meaning “leave” or “hurry”?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Thanks. :thumbsup: I'm sorry it wasn't the Dutch version but the military version sounds most plausible.
     

    trucker kev the paid tour

    New Member
    American English
    Our daughter's little dog escaped from our house. I quickly posted a query on NextDoor (an app commonly used for neighborhood issues in the US). About 15 minutes later, a neighbor posted that she had seen a dog matching his description booking it down Street X. My spouse jumped in the car and raced down Street X himself and found the dog running around in an intersection of Street X and Major Street Y. Dog was unharmed and very glad to see someone he knew. Dog had covered far more ground that we would have thought, so he was indeed booking it.
    awesome description right on the money..
     

    Samura

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Greetings,

    Would someone please explain the meaning of the phrase "to book it out of there" in the sentence below:

    "As I was walking up the stairs, I felt like someone was starting at me from behind, so turned around and stared into the darkness. I got a really bad feeling so I booked it out of there."
    Source: A message board

    Many thanks!
    Could tell me that was "felt like " or "felt?

    I felt someone was chasing me from behind.
     
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