"ice skate or roller skate," 1662, skeates "ice skates" (the custom was brought to England after the Restoration by exiled followers of Charles II who had taken refuge in Holland), from Du. schaats (singular, mistaken in Eng. as plural), from M.Du. schaetse, from O.N.Fr. escache "a stilt, trestle,"
from O.Fr. eschace "stilt" (Fr. échasse), from Frank. *skakkja "stilt" (cf. Fris. skatja "stilt"), perhaps lit. "thing that shakes or moves fast" and related to root of O.E. sceacan "to vibrate" (see shake
). Or perhaps the Du. word is connected to M.L.G. schenke, O.E. scanca "leg" (see shank
). Sense alteration in Du. from "stilt" to "skate" is not clearly traced. The verb is attested from 1696; U.S. slang sense of "to get away with something" is attested from 1945.