from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To leave (a place) hastily (originally military).
  • v. to abandon someone without warning.
  • v. miss school, play truant, play hooky.
  • v. To cause to bulge
  • v. To crash or glitch
  • n. A rapid retreat, a rout.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bulge outward


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Attested 1950, popularized in the Korean War (1950–53) in such phrases as “bug-out fever” (rout) and “the big bug out” (November/December 1950 retreat) and entered civilian slang by mid 1950s. Likely originated in World War II, perhaps based on 1930s cartoons featuring bugs fleeing an impending foot or boot. Ultimately based on the rapid, disorderly flight of bugs when discovered, particularly their scattering if several are discovered at once, such as under a rock or can. Compare chicken out.


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