Word of the Week: Absquatulate

Absquatulate (v): To leave one’s present location. Or, as suggested by the word itself, go and squat somewhere else. It’s one of those delightful American words that combines Latinate learning with playful inventiveness. I can’t do better than copy the gloss from The Free Dictionary, which explains it beautifully.

In the 19th century, the vibrant energy of American English appeared in the use of Latin affixes to create jocular pseudo-Latin “learned” words. There is a precedent for this in the language of Shakespeare, whose plays contain scores of made-up Latinate words. Midwestern and Western U.S. Absquatulate has a prefix ab-, “away from,” and a suffix ate, “to act upon in a specified manner,” affixed to a nonexistent base form -squatul-, probably suggested by squat. Hence the whimsical absquatulate, “to squat away from.”

Thus, Elvis has absquatulated the building.

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