\ˈflē \
fled\ ˈfled \; 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

Most Venezuelans crossing the Simón Bolívar bridge are fleeing their country for food and medicine. Joe Heim And Julie Tate, Houston Chronicle, "As Hart children begged for help, system failed them," 12 July 2018 But, after getting the gun and ammunition from the seller’s trunk, Dunham fled, police said. Jeff Weiner, OrlandoSentinel.com, "AR-15 owner listed gun for sale online — then was robbed by felon 'buyer,' cops say," 10 July 2018 When deputies arrived in the area, Crowley had already allegedly fled. Samantha Schmidt, ajc, "Faint cry leads deputies to baby abandoned in cold Montana mountains," 9 July 2018 Two passengers who were in the truck, a 32-year-old woman from Toledo and another man, immediately fled the scene, according to the sheriff's office. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "2 teens struck by pickup, killed in Monroe County," 4 July 2018 Anderson was fleeing from what authorities have said was an attempt to shoplift more than $3,400 in merchandise from Marshalls with two accomplices. Melanie Burney, Philly.com, "Family of woman fatally shot by Deptford police hold protest, demand answers," 1 July 2018 To escape, Holden flees into the ring, and into a strange new world beyond it. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Humanity inherits the galaxy in The Expanse’s season 3 finale," 29 June 2018 Puri’s mother, Guadalupe, had fled her hometown in Andalusia after her own father and 8-year-old brother were killed by Franco’s troops. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018 Batoul Alsabagh, a refugee whose family fled Syria in 2012, and documentary filmmaker Alexandra Shiva discuss resettlement, asylum and more. Caitlin Mcglade, The Courier-Journal, "Refugees feel sting of Supreme Court ruling to keep Trump's travel ban," 27 June 2018

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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Statistics for flee

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flee

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

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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 \
fled\ ˈfled \; fleeing

Kids Definition of flee

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

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Comments on flee

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a private place of worship

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