What does booking it mean?

  • Jul 09, 2024
What does booking it mean?

What does ‘booking it’ mean?

The word “booking it” can be explained as an informal slang term to describe walking or running at a fast pace. It evolved in the mid twentieth century and is still in current use particularly in the colloquial English. However, significant is the fact that what does it actually mean to book it, and how this expression came into being?

Going Back to the Roots of the Term and the First Times It Was Used

Further history was found while looking into the etymology of the phrase ‘booking it’ which seems to have originated in 1950s or early 1960. And, in fact, one of the earliest written uses that I can find is in a 1966 issue of Sports Illustrated in the following sentence: “The coach – who went booking it up to the press box. ”

In the mid-1900s the word "booking" itself had two distinct meanings:In the mid-1900s the word "booking" itself had two distinct meanings:

1. Associated with traveling and making bookings as in ‘flight reservation’

2. This is used to mean or express running or moving swiftly, for instance, in the phrase, “he went booking down the hall. ”

From the second definition it is most likely that the “booking it” phrase evolved as a progression of the above meaning. In earlier instances, when a person said, “I am going to book it,” it was used to convey that you are headed somewhere fast, as if the breaks were completely worn out – as you are making reservations for a speedy journey.

Now it is fascinating to note that the phrase “booking it” was originally slang that was exclusively or at least primarily associated with American English. This is likely to have been influenced by the entry of young people in learning institutions and members of the anti-establishment movements who were more inclined to use colloquial language in their communication. It has been in English usage especially from the 1960’s and slowly began to merge into common English language usage.

What does “Booking It” Mean Today and How is it Usedgrammatically?

Booking it was a term used in the past to describe the action of securing a date through a phone call or an appointment with a person or a group of people. Its definition has remained stable over the decades:Its definition has remained stable over the decades:

Booking it - To rush or move somewhere or to something very quickly or quickly, and with great speed as if one is in haste. This phrase is frequently seen in the continuous tense structures with ‘is/was’ such as ‘is/was booking it. ’

You'll notice "booking it" is almost always used with action verbs that indicate rapid movement:You'll notice "booking it" is almost always used with action verbs that indicate rapid movement:

- It was thrilling watching her run down the hall to get into the elevator before it could shut.

- I overslept and had to rush to get to my exam otherwise I would be late, or in fact, too late!

- After the bell students were running out of doors with speed just to get home as if they were freed from school for the day.

The expressions “book it on out of here” or “book it out of there” are also used, with the descriptors “out of here there” used to indicate quick exit from a place.

While informal, "booking it" has become widespread enough in English to appear in published books, news articles and other edited writing:While informal, "booking it" has become widespread enough in English to appear in published books, news articles and other edited writing:

- The shoplifter noticed the security guards within the shop and without wasting any time, fled out of the shop.

- Do you recall the time when we use to run through the corridors in the middle schools between the periods? I must say that after the manner in which the teachers were shouts of ‘no running!”

So to summarize, “booking it” in slang means to run fast! The idea is literally running helter-skelter or dashing wildly, like the person is emphatic that they are ‘making a reservation’ in order to get where one wants to go in a hurry.

When idioms have quite similar meanings, the variations are also considered similar to the core meaning of the idiom.

In the context of this study, “booking it” is best understood as falling under a subgenre of English slang that is concerned with speed and motion. Here are common variations:

- To haul ass – to move quickly and to hurry up, and vulgar/offensive.
- Heading for tracks - Leaving fast
- Meaning of the phrase ‘going hell for leather’ - doing a thing in an unrestricted manner or at very high speeds
- Tearing – Violently or swiftlyařilo<|adjective|>Tearing – Violently or rapidly
- Barrelling – That is the act of moving rapidly or at high speeds.
- Zooming – This is an expression that portrays an entity, event, plan or project as moving at a high speed like a fast vehicle.

Thus, the phrase “quit booking it down the hall!” has the same meaning as “quit tearing down the hall!” or “quit hauling ass down the hall!” is used to express an urgent request to stop moving fast immediately.

In its contemporary context, ‘Booking it’ means:

A mark of "booking it's" widespread adoption in casual English is its regular use across internet culture, media and entertainment over recent decades:A mark of "booking it's" widespread adoption in casual English is its regular use across internet culture, media and entertainment over recent decades:

- Appended to song lyrics from pop punk/alternative bands, such as Green Day (“I guess I’ll book it out of here”), it depicts its perception as youth’s lingo.

- Found in video game conversation, which tell players that a particular character is running away from the incident in a hurry.

- The term is often used in television shows and films in a comical sense to depict actions performed at outstanding speed.

- Commonly used in YouTube videos, such as in the titles and comments, as well as in blog and forum posts as sensationalized hyperbole (“We booked it out of the haunted house!”).

So not only is “booking it” in language used, but it is also evident in the popular language of youth cultures across the world.

In Conclusion

Though its true etymology is unclear, the phrase “booking it” came to be known as American slang in the 1950s/1960s to mean moving at rapid speed as if in haste for a booking implying that one had to get somewhere quickly. Comparing it to other word meanings that have changed over the course of decades or even years, it is evident that its meaning has remained the same. Therefore next time you hear someone telling their kids to “stop running round the house booking it” or returning a text message saying “had to book it when the storm came” you can tell, you have been enlightened on the history of this fascinating slang phrase that is still kicking hard up to the twenty first century!