\ ˈflē How to pronounce flee (audio) \
fled\ ˈfled How to pronounce fled (audio) \; fleeing

Definition of flee

intransitive verb

1a : to run away often from danger or evil : fly The family fled from the war-torn zone.
b : to hurry toward a place of security Refugees fled to a neighboring country.
2 : to pass away swiftly : vanish mists fleeing before the rising sun

transitive verb

: to run away from : shun Many people fled the city to escape the fighting.

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of flee in a Sentence

The family fled from Nazi Germany to Britain in 1936. He was accused of trying to flee the scene of the accident. Many people fled the city to escape the fighting. He was forced to flee the country.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web About 32,000 North Koreans have fled to the South since the end of the Korean War, most of them via China and in the past two decades. Time, "South Korea Deports North Korean Fishermen Who Attempted to Defect After Killing Their Fellow Crew Members," 9 Nov. 2019 Pol, who once worked for Vossische Zeitung, Germany’s leading liberal newspaper, soon fled to Prague, and Beradt eventually moved in with her future husband, the writer and lawyer Martin Beradt. Mireille Juchau, The New Yorker, "How Dreams Change Under Authoritarianism," 7 Nov. 2019 After the firefighter was killed and the group fled, Holston threw the SIM card from his phone out the window of the car on Interstate 95, their companion told investigators. Lisa J. Huriash, sun-sentinel.com, "Firefighter killed in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea was shot in the back of his head," 7 Nov. 2019 Many of these immigrants flee from poor areas of Latin America, Mexico, Africa, and Asia that were wrecked by statism and socialism. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "History Has Shown That Socialism Isn’t the Cure," 7 Nov. 2019 He was charged with not obeying a police order, fleeing, failure to reinstate his driver’s license and driving with expired plates. John Benson, cleveland, "Cleveland man with baby on the way regrets eluding police: Brecksville Police Blotter," 6 Nov. 2019 Ötzi collected his gear, including a copper ax, food, and a first aid kit, and fled, using some moss to treat his wound. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Mosses Expand the Story of Ötzi the Iceman’s Final Journey," 1 Nov. 2019 After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery. Houston Chronicle, "Outside the Megaplex: Here are the Houston arthouse movies showing Nov. 1-7," 31 Oct. 2019 The suspect, Robert Jonathan Seacat, had stolen a shirt and a couple belts from a Walmart in neighboring Aurora and then fled in a Lexus, according to a police affidavit. The Washington Post, oregonlive, "Police blew up an innocent man’s house in search of an armed shoplifter. Too bad, court rules.," 30 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flee.' 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 flee

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for flee

Middle English flen, from Old English flēon; akin to Old High German fliohan to flee

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flee

Time Traveler for flee

Time Traveler

The first known use of flee was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for flee

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Flee.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fled. Accessed 21 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flee


How to pronounce flee (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flee

: to run away from danger
: to run away from (a place)


\ ˈflē How to pronounce flee (audio) \
fled\ ˈfled \; fleeing

Kids Definition of flee

: to run away or away from Animals fled the fire.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on flee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flee

Spanish Central: Translation of flee

Nglish: Translation of flee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flee for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flee

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


strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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