The Mystical Origins Behind “23 Skidoo”

What does ‘23 skidoo’ mean?

The idiom "23 skidoo" is a playful expression used to urge someone to leave quickly or to express surprise at someone's speedy departure.

Mysterious Slang Analysis

The idiom "23 skidoo" has several different meanings and origins that have been explored over the years. One common interpretation is that "23 skidoo" refers to a quick and sudden departure or the act of being ejected from somewhere. Another theory suggests that the phrase originated during the early 20th century in New York City, specifically Manhattan, and was used to disperse groups of men who would gather outside the Flatiron Building on 23rd Street to watch women's skirts being blown up by the wind.

While the exact origin of the phrase is unclear, it gained popularity in the 1920s and was associated with the notion of swift departure or being moved along forcefully. This interpretation aligns with the slang meaning of "skidoo" as going away or leaving. The number "23" in the idiom might have just been added for the sake of rhyme or emphasis, as it doesn't have an obvious connection to the meaning.

An alternative theory suggests that "23 skidoo" originated from the slang phrase "23 skidoo to the zap," which meant to get moving quickly. This phrase was allegedly used by streetcar conductors in Chicago, who would announce "23 skidoo" to passengers to signal that the trolley was about to take off.

The idiom "23 skidoo" has also been associated with a landmark amusement park in New York called Steeplechase Park, which was located on Coney Island. The park featured a thrilling ride called "The Whip" where riders would experience sharp turns and sudden movements. The operator would shout "23 skidoo!" as a warning to riders to hold on tight and expect a wild ride.

Overall, the true origin of the idiom "23 skidoo" remains shrouded in mystery. While different theories and explanations have been proposed, none can be definitively confirmed. Nevertheless, the phrase has endured over the years, continuing to capture the imagination and curiosity of linguists, etymologists, and language enthusiasts alike.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *23 skidoo* can be used in a sentence:

  1. "When the police arrived, the troublemakers had to do a quick 23 skidoo."
  2. "The unexpected rain made everyone on the beach 23 skidoo to find cover."
  3. "After realizing they were on the wrong route, the hikers had to 23 skidoo back to the starting point."

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