Get out of Dodge

Get out of Dodge is an American idiom. We will examine the meaning of the idiom get out of Dodge, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Get out of Dodge means to leave a place, especially in a hasty manner. The phrase get out of Dodge often is used with a qualifier, as in get the heck out of Dodge, or other phrases using stronger words. The expression get out of Dodge came into use during the mid-twentieth century in the United States and is a reference to the Old West town of Dodge City, Kansas. Dodge City, Kansas, was known as a “Wicked Little Town” because it was perched on the edge of the wild frontier. Buffalo hunters and then cowboys stopped in Dodge City for rest and relaxation, which was often wild and dangerous and involved saloons, gambling halls, brothels, and shoot-outs. Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson and their brothers were lawmen who famously kept the peace. By the turn of the twentieth century, settlers had moved into the area and Dodge City became a respectable hamlet. The legendary status of Dodge City was boosted when a radio serial set in Dodge City, Gunsmoke, came on the air in the 1950s and then made the transition to television, where it ran until the mid-1970s. The fictional lawman on the series, Marshal Dillon, was known for exhorting bad men to move on, or get out of Dodge.

Examples

So here we go again, attempting to “get out of Dodge” by tackling our first foray into steelhead salmon fishing — headed to a river on the east side of Lake Michigan this time. (The Daily Journal)

“When it got to be winter time, people wanted to get out of Dodge,” Greene said. (The Recorder)

As Mayor de Blasio prepared to get out of Dodge for the weekend, a police union boss issued a very “High Noon”-like ultimatum for him to quit by sundown. (The New York Post)

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered: