\ 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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Pounds are persistent little buggers that seem to flee only from the perfect mix of protein, lifting things, walking a lot and the proper alignment of the planets. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, 2 May 2022 When people flee their homeland and arrive in a foreign country, staples like food, water, clothing and shelter are critical. Tanya Mohn, Forbes, 1 May 2022 The attack in the eastern Ukrainian city appeared to deliberately target a crowd of mostly women and children trying to flee a looming Russian offensive, killing at least 52 and wounding dozens more. Fox News, 30 Apr. 2022 The Times helped them and their families — hundreds of people in all — flee the country. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 The twisty thriller stars Malin Akerman and Lorenza Izzo as two woman who flee from a cult – and its persuasive and smarmy leader (Chris Messina) – into the New Mexico desert. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 Fashion designer Betsey Johnson, who was briefly married to John Cale of the Velvet Underground, would often flee to the Chelsea when her relationships were on the rocks. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, 26 Apr. 2022 Now living with her young family in Kyiv, the author refuses to flee her home a second time, staying in the capital to volunteer with the civil defense. Olena Stiazhkina, CNN, 26 Apr. 2022 With so many leggy bachelors roaming around, females can afford to devour a few—so to avoid becoming a postcoital snack, male spiders must flee immediately after procreation. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 25 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flee. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for flee


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

Kids Definition of flee

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

More from Merriam-Webster on flee

Nglish: Translation of flee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flee for Arabic Speakers


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