Take a Hike – Meaning and Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The idiom take a hike means to tell someone to leave or go away, often in a somewhat rude or dismissive manner. It’s just another way of saying, “Get lost!” But here’s a fun twist: this phrase has roots in the term “hyke,” which refers to vigorous walking.

Idioms are the quirky spices of language, enhancing our speech with cultural context and color. They’re not always literal, but they’re always meaningful, reflecting the history and humor of the English language.

So, let’s dig a bit deeper and really study the true meaning, origin, and proper usage of this phraseso you know exactly how to use it in a sentence.

The Meaning of Take a Hike

Take a Hike – Meaning and Origin

Take a hike is just an informal way of telling someone to leave or go away. It can be seen as a less-than-polite directive, akin to buzz off or scram. Sure, you could just tell them to leave, but saying take a hike lets them know you really need them to go away. I’ve even heard some people say, “Take a hike off the shortest pier,” which is even more dismissive and maybe a little mean!

Take a Hike Origin and Etymology

Take a Hike Ngram
Take a hike usage trend.

The phrase “take a hike” is derived from the old English term hyke, which means to walk vigorously. Now, that’s a strange mental image! There’s no initial use of it as an idiom recorded, but from this origin, we can deduce that the saying means to leave quickly. It’s been around since the 1700s but didn’t really pick up speed until the 1900s.

Synonyms for the Take a Hike Saying

Dismiss annoying people with other phrases! Try any of these alternatives, and they’ll still get the hint.

  • Buzz off
  • Scram
  • Beat it
  • Get lost
  • Hit the road

Take a Hike Examples in a Sentence

Take a Hike – Meaning and Origin 1

  • When the car salesman became too pushy, Jenny told him to take a hike so we could look around ourselves.
  • “Look, buddy, if you’re here to cause trouble, you might as well take a hike,” the bouncer said as he cracked his knuckles.
  • All I did was try to offer some unsolicited advice, and she told me to take a hike.
  • I’ve had enough of your excuses, Daniel. We’re over! Take a hike!
  • When the topic veered into politics, Brian thought it was best to take a hike from the conversation before things got heated.
  • “If you’re not interested in working hard and winning, then take a hike,” the coach exclaimed.
  • Sarah wasn’t in the mood for gossip that day and told her colleagues to take a hike so she could work in peace.
  • The deal sounded too good to be true, so I told the scammer to take a hike before hanging up the phone.
  • “Either pitch in or take a hike,” Mark told his lazy friend as they packed his things.
  • “This isn’t working out. I think it’s best if you take a hike,” said the rude manager during the performance review.

A Wrap on Taking a Hike

From nature trails to the urban dictionary, take a hike has certainly traveled a long way in language! Now that you’re familiar with this idiom, why not explore a few more? We’ve got hundreds right here on our site!