\ 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

After losing control of his troubled production of Touch of Evil, Welles fled the city. Keith Phipps, The Verge, "Netflix’s Orson Welles revival is strange, fascinating, and frustrating," 1 Nov. 2018 After Napoleon's 1852 coup d'état, Trouvelot fled the country with his family in 1855 and landed in the Medford suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "These 19th-century astronomical drawings show the beauty of cosmos," 30 Sep. 2018 Once officers arrived, the attacker fled the scene, followed by the professor who tried to stop him. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "A Baltimore professor was the victim of an anti-Semitic attack and then German police punched him," 13 July 2018 The pair fled and eventually led law enforcement on two separate pursuits and shootouts, days apart. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, "S.A. man who carjacked and shot postal worker gets 20 years for crime spree," 12 July 2018 The suspect fled but was later detained near Thornton Pavilion and Jacobs Medical Center on the east side of the UC San Diego campus. Alex Riggins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Bus stabbing sends victim to hospital with life-threatening injuries, ends in arrest," 11 July 2018 Both fled Cuba when Fidel Castro took over with the thought that the move would be temporary. Margaret Gray, latimes.com, "They're Gloria and Emilio Estefan, eight shows a week: How the stars of 'On Your Feet!' channel pop heroes," 10 July 2018 The driver, later identified as Harris, fled on foot for a quarter-mile before being apprehended. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fleeing car speeds through Franklin with headlights off in nighttime chase," 9 July 2018 Giay said villagers who fled into the mountainous jungle were in danger of being sick from cold and hunger. Niniek Karmini, The Seattle Times, "Indonesia rejects rebels’ demand on Papua independence talks," 11 Dec. 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

8 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on flee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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