\ 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

Eritrea has become a major source of migrants fleeing toward Europe, Israel and African nations in recent years as human rights groups criticize its harsh military conscription laws. Washington Post, "Eritrea leader visits Ethiopia on Saturday in historic thaw," 13 July 2018 After a physical skirmish ensued, TMZ continues to claim that YG picked up the necklace medallion straight off the floor before fleeing the scene, according to surveillance footage. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "YG Arrested in Las Vegas For Felony Robbery Charges: Report," 13 July 2018 The guidance impacts people fleeing domestic violence or gang violence as well as asylum seekers who cross the border illegally. Kate Morrissey, sandiegouniontribune.com, "New guidance for asylum officers could send thousands back from the border," 12 July 2018 He was also said to have stolen the victim’s Rolex watch (worth approximately $20,000, according to La Verne police) before fleeing the scene, but he was arrested hours later. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Super Bowl Champ Brandon Browner Charged with Attempting to Murder Ex While Her Kids Were Home," 12 July 2018 Coley was identified as one of the shooters that fired multiple shots at people fleeing the club, the GBI said in a news release. Zachary Hansen, ajc, "GBI: Teen arrested in connection with Ashburn nightclub shooting that killed 1," 3 July 2018 Yet just 2% of Basque refugee children fleeing the Spanish civil war then raging had their tonsils out, and were no worse off for it. The Economist, "Hospitals are learning from industry how to cut medical errors," 28 June 2018 Video taken at the scene captured dozens of people fleeing the newspaper’s building, hands raised above their heads. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Multiple Dead in Shooting at Annapolis Newspaper," 28 June 2018 The wars also fueled worries about smugglers running guns into Mexico, refugees fleeing to the United States and international espionage in the borderlands. Rachel St. John, Smithsonian, "The Raging Controversy at the Border Began With This Incident 100 Years Ago," 26 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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Phrases Related to flee

leave/flee the nest

Statistics for flee

Last Updated

17 Sep 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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