escape

1 of 3

verb

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

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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
4
a
: to issue from
a smile escaped me
b
: to be uttered involuntarily by
a sigh of relief escaped her
escaper noun

escape

2 of 3

noun

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

3 of 3

adjective

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

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.”

Choose the Right Synonym for escape

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

Example Sentences

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
Employees who raise their paycheck withholding late in the year often escape underpayment penalties for the entire year, and the IRS has posted a calculator to help figure withholding. Laura Saunders, WSJ, 25 Nov. 2022 Its broad base allows steam to escape easily during cooking, giving you a better sear on meat and enhancing flavor concentration. Toni Sutton, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2022 But Sullivan explained that Kunkle had strong concerns that the chatty, politically connected contractor and part-time clown would escape justice through an insanity plea. William Lee, Chicago Tribune, 21 Nov. 2022 Another said militants shot dead her brother for helping others to escape their area. Declan Walsh Andrea Bruce, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2022 While billions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed and administered, a relatively low efficacy could promote new mutations and new variants that can escape the protection provided by vaccines. Alice Park, Time, 21 Nov. 2022 By restoring his integrity as a cook in his final moments, letting Erin escape death is almost Julian's way of expressing his gratitude. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 21 Nov. 2022 But Tennessee was the only team that didn’t escape. Adam Sparks, USA TODAY, 20 Nov. 2022 Untangling such interference hasn’t been easy given the number of respiratory viruses—coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, RSV, and influenza are just among the best known—and the many infections that escape notice. Byjon Cohen, science.org, 18 Nov. 2022
Noun
The escape of hundreds from Kherson came as the country paid homage to the millions of Ukrainians who died in a Stalin-era famine — and sought to ensure that Russia’s war in Ukraine doesn’t deprive others worldwide of its vital food exports. Sam Mednick, Jamey Keaten, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Nov. 2022 The biggest concern for Wolverines’ fans during the week has been the status of standout RB Blake Corum, who was unable to play through an apparent knee injury after halftime of last week’s narrow escape from Illinois. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2022 Gunn also said the special is the perfect escape from Vol. 3. Chris Smith, BGR, 25 Nov. 2022 With thoughtful design in every detail, this serene escape allows for a simple way of life defined by moments of connection. Robb Report Studio, Robb Report, 23 Nov. 2022 Cassian carts his friends to the shipyard, where Bix, Brasso, Wilmon, B2-EMO and Co. escape from Ferrix to Gangi Moon. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 23 Nov. 2022 Opt for sweeping wood floors and ceilings to create a natural escape full of tranquility, like this living room by Karen Mills. Helena Madden, ELLE Decor, 22 Nov. 2022 With its slim profile and crystal branches, your entryway or living room will instantly become a winter escape. Mariah Thomas, Good Housekeeping, 21 Nov. 2022 The ten minutes of footage screened in Marrakech found a young sapphire miner narrowly dodge death in a tension filled nighttime escape before finding new work as a dockworker – and with that, the pull towards revolution. Ben Croll, Variety, 18 Nov. 2022
Adjective
One more benefit of recounting and recording your dreams is simply escape. David G. Allan, CNN, 4 Aug. 2022 Both works draw a line between the anti-escape devices used to control the enslaved and the subtler constraints on contemporary Black dissent. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 4 May 2022 If possible, collect the bat in an escape-proof container with air holes and take to a local veterinarian for euthanasia. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 8 Mar. 2022 On Wednesday, the 40-year-old stunt performer shared an update on his health after he was hospitalized last week following an escape act gone wrong at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where the show is being filmed. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, 20 Oct. 2021 Authorities searched around Stevenson Park but could not locate Tidwell, who will face additional escape charges, the sheriff’s office said. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, 4 Dec. 2019 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, 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, 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, 4 Feb. 2018 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near escape

Cite this Entry

“Escape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/escape. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

escape 1 of 2

verb

es·​cape is-ˈkāp How to pronounce escape (audio)
escaped; escaping
1
a
: to get away
escape from the daily routine
escape from a burning building
b
: to leak out from some enclosed place
gas is escaping
c
: to grow in the wild after being in cultivation
2
: to get out of the way of : avoid
escape punishment
3
: to fail to be noticed or recalled by
the name escapes me
4
: to come out from or be uttered by unexpectedly or almost uncontrollably
a sigh of relief escaped us
escaper noun

escape

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act or instance of escaping
2
: a means of escaping
3
: a cultivated plant growing wild

Medical Definition

escape 1 of 3

verb

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

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

2 of 3

noun

: 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

3 of 3

adjective

: providing a means of escape
escape literature

Legal Definition

escape 1 of 2

intransitive verb

es·​cape
escaped; escaping
: to depart from lawful custody with the intent of avoiding confinement or the administration of justice

escape

2 of 2

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on escape

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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