escape

verb
es·​cape | \ i-ˈskāp How to pronounce escape (audio) , e-, dialectal ik-ˈskāp\
escaped; escaping

Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to get away (as by flight) escaped from prison
b : to issue from confinement gas is escaping
c of a plant : to run wild from cultivation
2 : to avoid a threatening evil the boat sank but the crew escaped

transitive verb

1 : to get free of : break away from escape the jungle escape the solar system
2 : to get or stay out of the way of : avoid efforts to escape poverty
3 : to fail to be noticed or recallable by his name escapes me
4a : to issue from a smile escaped me
b : to be uttered involuntarily by a sigh of relief escaped her

escape

noun

Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an act or instance of escaping: such as
a : flight from confinement
b : evasion of something undesirable
c : leakage or outflow especially of a fluid
d : distraction or relief from routine or reality
2 : a means of escape
3 : a cultivated plant run wild
4 or less commonly Escape : escape key

escape

adjective

Definition of escape (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : providing a means of escape escape literature
2 : providing a means of evading a regulation, claim, or commitment an escape clause in a contract

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from escape

Verb

escaper noun

Synonyms for escape

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for escape

Verb

escape, avoid, evade, elude, shun, eschew mean to get away or keep away from something. escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent. nothing escapes her sharp eyes avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty. try to avoid past errors evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding. evaded the question by changing the subject elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes. what she sees in him eludes me shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence. you have shunned your responsibilities eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful. a playwright who eschews melodrama

Did You Know?

If you were being held captive by someone gripping the coat or cloak you were wearing, you might be able to get away by slipping out of it. This is the idea on which the word escape is based. Escape is made up of the Latin prefix ex-, which means “out of,” and the Latin word cappa, which means “head covering” or “cloak.”

Examples of escape in a Sentence

Verb They managed to escape from the burning building. He needed a vacation to escape the routine of daily life. She moved to the city to escape the memory of her mother's death. trying to help people to escape poverty trying to help people to escape from poverty He succeeded in escaping punishment for many years. A few passengers somehow escaped injury. She barely escaped death when her car slid off the road. Several passengers escaped without injury. Noun The prisoners attempted a daring escape. He celebrated his escape from his boring job with a long vacation. She had a lucky escape when she wasn't injured in the accident. She managed to avoid serious injury, but it was a narrow escape. The door was locked; there was no escape. Gardening offered an escape from her busy life. an accidental escape of poisonous gases trying to prevent further escape of liquid
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Troopers apprehended the passenger immediately but the driver was combative and was able to escape on foot and fled into the local neighborhood, Procopio said. BostonGlobe.com, "A Lynn man who fled from police in Charlestown was tracked down by a State Police K-9 dog in Somerville early Monday morning.," 17 Sep. 2019 Bruner and five others were stranded on the sinking ship and were able to escape by grappling for 70 feet on a rope to a nearby repair ship, the USS Vestal. Fox News, "Lauren Bruner, one of last survivors of USS Arizona, dies at 98," 13 Sep. 2019 Check weather stripping on doors and windows so cool air doesn’t escape. Lila Seidman, Glendale News-Press, "Glendale’s utility asks customers to conserve energy to avoid more blackouts," 12 Sep. 2019 With less time from the moment a fire is located at a specific source to the moment a fire fully involves every combustible object in a room, that can mean less time for residents to escape. Washington Post, "Fire can be risky, deadly drawback of living in mobile homes," 16 Sep. 2019 Outlaw said, although the suspect was able to escape them, and that is when officers took him into custody. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida man stabs multiple coworkers in Tallahassee attack, police say," 11 Sep. 2019 Majors’ 4-year-old granddaughter was able to escape and ran to a neighbor’s house for help, Metro Nashville Police said. Kc Baker, PEOPLE.com, "Boy, 6, Who Was ‘Constantly Smiling’ Is Killed by Grandfather in Murder-Suicide: ‘It’s Just, Why?’," 10 Sep. 2019 Secondly, while Grosz was able to escape with some documents that facilitate research, the Nazis destroyed copious works and documents left in Berlin. Mary M. Lane, Time, "When This German Artist Tried to Use His Work to Warn About Hitler, the World Ignored Him. It's Time to Listen," 10 Sep. 2019 The employee then told the trafficker that the victim had tried to get his help to escape. Eliott C. Mclaughlin And Tina Burnside, CNN, "Atlanta hotel employees helped sex traffickers avoid police, four plaintiffs allege in federal lawsuits," 28 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Where was the escape from hunger and fever, frost and fear? Richard Brady, National Review, "Valley of the Shadow," 31 Aug. 2019 Yet, overall the movie is a delightful escape with several laugh-out-loud moments. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "Review: Thanks to Cate Blanchett, 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' is in good hands," 15 Aug. 2019 Yet, overall the movie is a delightful escape with several laugh-out-loud moments. Melissa Yeager, Detroit Free Press, "'Where'd You Go, Bernadette’ is in good hands with Cate Blanchett," 1 Aug. 2019 This, after all, remains television’s two-pronged promise: an escape from reality and a place for vendors to hock their wares. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 The quick escape is what makes Cowles Mountain so popular. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hikers finding new ways to take 5-Peak Challenge," 9 Sep. 2019 The escape is the latest incident at the troubled Cuyahoga County Jail that has been plagued with nine deaths since June 2018. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Cuyahoga County Jail escapee arrested, official says," 5 Sep. 2019 But a shared car can also be an escape from our silos. Simone Stolzoff, SFChronicle.com, "They called an UberPool and found love," 27 Aug. 2019 There are two sides to the restaurant—the elegant dining room and a more casual café side—but each offers an Italian escape. al, "Where to get the city’s best Italian and Mediterranean food," 26 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Another epic escape act seems improbable, but can't be ruled out if Di Francesco gets his tactics right in Rome. Stevens Griffiths, chicagotribune.com, "Three things we learned from Liverpool v Roma," 24 Apr. 2018 During his final three matches at the sectional, Skokna consistently employed a strategy of letting his opponent get escape points without trying to keep him down. Patrick Kelly, chicagotribune.com, "Extra work helps pair of Hinsdale Central wrestlers reach state," 16 Feb. 2018 The Saturn 5, which flew 13 times, had an Earth-escape payload capacity of more than 100,000 pounds, about three times the capability of the Falcon Heavy. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX prepares for dramatic Falcon Heavy launch," 4 Feb. 2018 There are already escape room businesses in Aurora, Naperville, McHenry, St. Charles, Schaumburg, Wheaton, quite a few other suburbs and in Chicago. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Escape room opens in downtown Elgin," 25 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'escape.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of escape

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for escape

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French escaper, eschaper, from Vulgar Latin *excappare, from Latin ex- + Late Latin cappa head covering, cloak

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about escape

Statistics for escape

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for escape

The first known use of escape was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for escape

escape

verb
How to pronounce escape (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get away from a place (such as a prison) where you are being held or kept
: to get away from a dangerous place or situation
: to get away from something that is difficult or unpleasant

escape

noun

English Language Learners Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of escaping from a place, situation, etc.
: a way of escaping from a place, situation, etc.
: an occurrence in which an amount of liquid or gas passes out through a hole or crack in a container

escape

verb
es·​cape | \ i-ˈskāp How to pronounce escape (audio) \
escaped; escaping

Kids Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to get away : get free or clear Everyone escaped from the burning building.
2 : to keep free of : avoid She managed to escape injury.
3 : to fail to be noticed or remembered by The name escapes me.
4 : to leak out Gas is escaping from the tank.

escape

noun

Kids Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of getting away a narrow escape
2 : a way of getting away … there was no escape except up the cliff.— Jack London, The Call of the Wild

escape

verb
es·​cape | \ is-ˈkāp How to pronounce escape (audio) \
escaped; escaping

Medical Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to avoid or find relief from something by means of an escape

transitive verb

: to avoid or find relief from (something) by means of an escape he was unable to escape reality

escape

noun

Medical Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 3)

: an act or instance of escaping: as
a : evasion of something undesirable find no method of escape from pain and suffering
b : distraction or relief from routine or reality especially : mental distraction or relief by flight into idealizing fantasy or fiction that serves to glorify the self

escape

adjective

Medical Definition of escape (Entry 3 of 3)

: providing a means of escape escape literature

Keep scrolling for more

es·​cape
escaped; escaping

Legal Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to depart from lawful custody with the intent of avoiding confinement or the administration of justice

escape

noun

Legal Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of escaping
2 : the criminal offense of escaping

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on escape

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for escape

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with escape

Spanish Central: Translation of escape

Nglish: Translation of escape for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of escape for Arabic Speakers

Comments on escape

What made you want to look up escape? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to spread as a report or rumor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!