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The English word vamoose is a verb meaning to depart. The word is American in origin, and it’s thought to derive from the Spanish vamos, which means let’s go.1 But while the Spanish word often functions as a standalone sentence (because the subject of the verb is implied in the verb’s conjugated form), the English vamoose works like any other verb. Where a Spanish speaker might say just Vamos! to mean let’s go!, an English speaker usually must include the subject of the verb—i.e., Let’s vamoose! Of course, vamoose, like every other verb in English, can stand alone when it’s imperative. So the sentence, Vamoose!, means, roughly, Get out of here!

Use of vamoose peaked in the middle 20th century,2 and today it may have a vaguely retro tone.


Maybe he should read the Tea (Party) leaves like Tim Pawlenty did, and vamoose. [American Spectator]

A Jets P.R. man told Revis to vamoose when Francesa kept badgering Revis. [Huffington Post]

The best shrimping has been down around Lake George, and that will be the first area to see the shrimp vamoosing. [St. Augustine Record]

Not fond of being the target of derision, the babe vamoosed. []


2. Ngram