Where Did the Saying “Take a Powder” When We Want Someone To Leave Come From and What Does it Mean?

“Take a powder” is a tough way of telling someone to get lost or get out of here and began as a rude dismissal of women.

The expression was popularized in the gangster movies of the 1930s.

When a tough guy was having a private conversation that he didn’t want a woman to overhear, he would use the phrase that the girls used when they excused themselves to use the washroom or refresh their makeup.

They’d say they were “taking a powder.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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