\ ˈflē How to pronounce flee (audio) \
fled\ ˈfled How to pronounce flee (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 His backers violently fought past police and into the building, forcing lawmakers to flee, temporarily disrupting the vote count and producing five deaths. Alan Fram, ajc, "GOP's McConnell: Trump morally responsible for Jan. 6 attack," 14 Feb. 2021 What is certain is that situations forcing people to flee their homes will not stop, and those people will need a safe place to go. San Diego Union-Tribune, "The U.S. asylum system is broken. How could it be reimagined?," 27 Dec. 2020 The Bond fire in Orange County exploded on Thursday, burning more than 7,000 acres and forcing residents to flee from their homes. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "Strong winds, freezing temps, high surf: Southern California under multiple weather warnings," 4 Dec. 2020 Then the pandemic showed up, emptying once-bustling streets and forcing many office workers to flee to their suburban homes. Tom Krisher And Michael Liedtke, chicagotribune.com, "Detroit was roaring back. Then, the pandemic hit.," 21 Oct. 2020 The mounting evidence comes as wildfires continue to rage in Colorado, where the Cameron Peak Fire and Calwood Fire have torched more than 200,000 acres of land, forcing thousands to flee from their homes. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "Air pollution could increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or other neurological disorders, study suggests," 19 Oct. 2020 Evacuation orders are currently in effect for Napa County, forcing thousands to flee their homes and businesses. Sunset Magazine, "Napa Is Burning––Here’s How to Help Victims of California’s Wildfires," 29 Sep. 2020 Oregon’s historic wildfires have burned more than 1 million acres statewide, killing at least 10 people, forcing more than 40,000 to flee and destroying hundreds of homes. oregonlive, "Which Oregon wildfires are still growing? New details, maps, evacuation information for biggest blazes," 14 Sep. 2020 Historic wildfires are raging across California as a result of extreme weather conditions, forcing tens of thousands of citizens to flee their homes and businesses. USA Today, "California ablaze: Striking satellite imagery shows how the fires are unfolding," 26 Aug. 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

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flee. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for flee



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

Nglish: Translation of flee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flee for Arabic Speakers

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