A: Trent turned north off of Honolulu onto Glenwood.
B: The van's really booking.

Is there another meaning for 'booking'? In this dialogue, the van is really going fast.

Maybe it means 'the van's ticketed'?

  • Did you read this or hear it? Are you sure it wasn't "cooking"?
    – Hot Licks
    May 13, 2019 at 20:03
  • 15
    @HotLicks No..it is 70's speak for leaving or moving fast ie "Let's book". May 13, 2019 at 20:03
  • 2
    @cascabel That one passed me by (probably rapidly). Maybe it never made it to the eastern side of the Pond.
    – BoldBen
    May 13, 2019 at 20:15
  • 2
    But "booking sounds wrong to me- it's an unnatural mixing of register. That car was bookin'
    – Jim
    May 13, 2019 at 23:41
  • 1
    It's 1970s US slang. It's very uncommon these days, and unheard-of outside the US.
    – smci
    May 14, 2019 at 5:52

3 Answers 3



Intransitive verb 3) slang : leave, go especially : to depart quickly,

"We booked out of there. "

-Merriam Webster

So the van was proceeding at high velocity down the street.

Although Etymonline has its origin as "unspecified" to 1977, I am sure I heard it going back to at least 2 years earlier in Philadelphia or Lakehurst.

  • 4
    Right. This is recent (late 20th-century) American slang, popular especially with children. May 13, 2019 at 20:10
  • 4
    "let's book it" is a 'common' expression (meaning to go, not reserve)
    – Carly
    May 13, 2019 at 20:52
  • OED says "transitive with it ['book it'] or intransitive" and adds "J. E. Lighter Hist. Dict. Amer. Slang (1994) vol. I. 237/2 records an oral use from 1974."
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 13, 2023 at 6:49

I've only ever heard this used once - in T2: Judgement Day. The young John Conner uses the term and it was sufficiently alien to me that I recall having to write to an American pen-friend at the time (I'm in the UK, and this was 1991 remember!) to find out what it meant.

Interestingly, my recollection of when JC says this differs from the online script sources I've looked at. The 'official' scene is given as in the vault at the Cyberdyne lab when John grabs the original T-800 arm and chip:

"We've got Skynet by the balls now, don't we? Let's book!"

But I'm sure in the actual movie John says this much earlier, when he's with his friend on their motorbikes and the new T-800 and deadly T-1000 haven't intercepted him yet. I'll have to fire-up the movie tonight to confirm.


I am from Appalachia/Ohio River Valley area. Here's what we used the word "booking" for.

I'm gonna book=I'm leaving.
Let's book=Let's leave.
Bob was really bookin' up through town today=Bob was going really fast up through town today.
Don's new car can book!=Don's new car is fast.

I have no idea where or when the word was first used thus way. Been saying it for 50 years and still use it the same way.

  • What does this add to the accepted answer that is not commentary?
    – Joachim
    Jun 10, 2022 at 12:44

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