‘Peace Out’: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

By Sophia Merton, updated on December 23, 2022

Did someone say ‘peace out’ and then walk away? Or did they ask you why you ‘peaced out’ so suddenly the other day? What does it mean when someone says ‘peace out,’ and where does this phrase come from?

‘Peace out’ can have several meanings, but it most commonly means ‘see you later’ or ‘to depart or leave, especially abruptly or suddenly.’

What Does 'Peace Out' Mean?

‘Peace out’ can be used as both an interjection and as a verb.

As an interjection, it means:

  • See you later
  • Go in peace

As a verb, it means:

  • To depart or leave, especially abruptly or suddenly
  • To render unconscious
  • To become unconscious
  • To experience an altered state of consciousness

This is a slang phrase, meaning it’s used in informal and casual contexts.

Sometimes, when someone says ‘peace out,’ they will also hold their hand up with their second and third fingers extended to make a ‘V’ shape. This is known as the ‘peace sign.’

Where Does 'Peace Out' Come From?

It’s not precisely known when people started to say ‘peace out.’ The phrase is generally associated with the hippie moment that emerged in the US in the 1960s and 1970s.

The most common explanation for where the term ‘peace out’ came from is that it evolved from using ‘peace’ as a way to say goodbye to someone. As early as the 1950s, the word ‘peace’ was embraced as an informal way to say hello and goodbye.

The Peace Movement

The word ‘peace’ was used increasingly in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, particularly among people associated with the hippie movement. There have been many peace movements throughout the course of human history. Still, we’re referring to the Vietnam War protests during the 60s that were deeply interconnected with the larger hippie counterculture.

During this time, there was a major focus on promoting the concept of peace around the world. It, therefore, became a word that people used to greet each other and to say goodbye when they parted ways.

‘Peace Out’ and Hip Hop

The phrase ‘peace out’ also appears in hip-hop music in the 80s, 90s, and beyond. It appeared in the Bestie Boys' song 3-Minute Rule as well as in the song; It’s My Beat by Sweet Tee and Jazzy Joyce.

The Origin of the Word ‘Peace’

The word ‘peace’ itself comes from the mid-twelfth century word ‘pes’, which meant ‘freedom from civil disorder.’ This word is related to the Anglo-French word ‘pes,’ the Old French word ‘pais,’ and the Latin word ‘pacem’, which means ‘absence of war, tranquility, agreement, treaty of peace.’

Examples of 'Peace Out' In Sentences

Now, let’s look at how ‘peace out’ can be used in a sentence. Here are some examples of using it as an interjection:

  • Thanks, everybody, it’s been real. I’m going to bed for the night. Peace out!”
  • “I know it’s weird to leave so early, but I’ve got a lot of homework to do. Peace out, my friend!”
  • “I’ve got to run to the store before it closes. Peace out.”

Next, we’ll explore the use of ‘peace out’ as a verb that means to depart, especially when it occurs suddenly or abruptly:

  • “We were all working at the office when my boss suddenly peaced out and disappeared for the rest of the day.”
  • “He wasn’t interested in the movie at all and peaced out just a few minutes into the film.”
  • “I think I’m going to peace out– I have to wake up early in the morning.”

Finally, let’s look at some examples of using ‘peace out’ to mean ‘to make unconscious,’ ‘to become unconscious,’ or ‘to experience an altered state of consciousness.' As a quick note, ‘peace out’ isn’t considered a polite or formal way to discuss someone who is unconscious– this is a slang term that adds humor to an otherwise unfortunate situation. You’ll want to be considerate of how you use it in this way, as it might not always be appropriate.

  • “I thought he would be able to hold his own in the fight, but he completely peaced out after a few minutes.”
  • “Sarah was afraid of going home because she thought her parents would be able to tell that she was completely peaced out.”
  • “Johnny peaced out this weekend. May he rest in peace.”

Other Ways to Say 'Peace Out'

How else can you communicate a similar meaning as in the phrase ‘peace out’? Here are some synonyms:

  • Later
  • See you later
  • So long
  • Take it easy
  • Bye-bye
  • Au revoir
  • Ta ta
  • Sayonara
  • Catch you later
  • Toodles
  • Adios
  • Cheerio
  • Farewell
  • Ciao

Are you ready to learn even more phrases and idioms on your journey to becoming a master of the English language? If so, check out our idioms blogs for more fascinating and informative articles. Until then, ‘peace out’!

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Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia Merton is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is passionate about reading, writing, and the written word. Her goal is to help everyone, whether native English speaker or not, learn how to write and speak with perfect English.

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