\ 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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Buy Now: Shuggie Bain Amnesty, Aravind Adiga (Feb. 18) The Booker Prize winner’s latest novel follows house cleaner Danny, who fled Sri Lanka and is living undocumented in Australia. Time, "Here Are the 11 New Books You Should Read in February," 31 Jan. 2020 Loeun was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to parents who fled the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, a Communist regime of the late 1970s responsible for the deaths of about two million people. SFChronicle.com, "U.S. citizen mistakenly targeted for deportation returns home," 30 Jan. 2020 And immigrants who fled poverty were instrumental to building the country’s other major infrastructure, like bridges and skyscrapers. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Immigrants who rely on public benefits are actually essential to the US economy," 30 Jan. 2020 Helicopters were used to rescue several residents who fled up nearly 20 flights of stairs to the roof for safety. CBS News, "8 injured in Los Angeles high-rise apartment fire," 29 Jan. 2020 Most of what is known about what goes on inside the camp system comes from former detainees who have fled China, mostly to Kazakhstan. New York Times, "Her Uighur Parents Were Model Chinese Citizens. It Didn’t Matter.," 29 Jan. 2020 Surveillance cameras captured grainy photographs of the suspects — a man and a woman — who fled the scene on mountain bikes. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "West Allis police are now offering a $10,000 reward for info that leads them to two fatal stabbing suspects," 28 Jan. 2020 No description of the suspect, who fled the scene, is available. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "1 wounded in shooting at Far North Dallas convenience store, police say," 28 Jan. 2020 Another suspect was taken to a nearby hospital by a third suspect in a silver Equinox, who fled the scene. Bisma Parvez, Detroit Free Press, "Police: 1 dead, 2 in critical condition after shooting on Detroit's west side," 27 Jan. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for flee

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for flee

Last Updated

5 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flee. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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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.

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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

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