\ ˈflē How to pronounce flee (audio) \
fled\ ˈfled How to pronounce fled (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 The man attempted to take the wheelchair, but he was stopped by a bystander before fleeing the area on foot, according to Silent Witness. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "Police seek man seen on video pushing woman out of wheelchair on light rail," 7 Dec. 2019 After shooting Pelton in an alleged ambush, Cotter tried to flee before being shot. James Burky, The Denver Post, "Charges filed against man accused of shooting Fort Lupton officer in the face," 6 Dec. 2019 His car was riddled with bullet holes, police believing the gunman opened fire up to seven times before fleeing the scene. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Driver pulls into gas station after being shot in head, arm in north Houston," 3 Dec. 2019 The driver of the vehicle that struck the ambulance tried to flee the scene but was captured by Milwaukee police, Slowey said. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Two EMTs injured when their ambulance is hit by a car in Milwaukee," 2 Dec. 2019 Members of the LeBaron family say one child was gunned down while trying to flee. Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Mexico’s ‘hugs not bullets’ approach to drug cartels has failed," 15 Nov. 2019 The suspect managed to grab items from the count before fleeing the store. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Birmingham store clerk uses broom to ward off knife-wielding robber," 12 Nov. 2019 The suspect was seen pouring gasoline and trying to light it at a Macomb County gas station and was chased by Macomb County Sheriff's deputies and Warren Police officers before fleeing and arriving in Detroit, Craig said. Omar Abdel-baqui, Detroit Free Press, "Man livestreams himself smashing into Detroit Police car," 8 Nov. 2019 Barnett was adopted from the Ukraine in 2010 by an Indiana couple who are alleged to have abandoned her more than five years ago — leaving her alone in an apartment before fleeing north to Canada. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Ukrainian Adoptee Allegedly Abandoned by Indiana Couple Opens Up to Dr. Phil," 4 Nov. 2019

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

10 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Flee.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flee?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=f&file=flee0001. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for flee


How to pronounce flee (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flee

Spanish Central: Translation of flee

Nglish: Translation of flee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flee for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flee

What made you want to look up flee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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