\ 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

Many are fleeing extreme poverty and violence, and some are seeking asylum. BostonGlobe.com, "The Yuma sector is the third busiest along the southern border, with officials building a temporary, 500-person tent facility in the parking lot of the Border Patrol’s Yuma headquarters in June.," 16 Sep. 2019 Even contestants who aren’t fleeing a scandal have seen their images shined up by the show. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, "‘Dancing with the Stars’ perfected a formula for kitschy, escapist joy. Can it survive today’s politics?," 16 Sep. 2019 Stella fled to New York and became a successful female impersonator. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "See RuPaul, Bianca Del Rio, more in exclusive excerpts from Drag: The Complete Story book," 16 Sep. 2019 Many are fleeing extreme poverty and violence, and some are seeking asylum. Astrid Galvan, The Denver Post, "450 miles of border wall by next year? In Arizona, it starts," 14 Sep. 2019 Officers on bikes stopped Hoard near Northwest Naito Parkway and Davis Street after witnesses pointed to the fleeing suspect. oregonlive, "Portland man accused of attempted murder, robbery stemming from stabbing in Tom McCall Waterfront Park," 13 Sep. 2019 San Diego resident Marco Corral was driving his 18-wheeler through West Texas when he was shot by the perpetrator who was fleeing police after a traffic stop. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego truck driver among those shot in Odessa," 4 Sep. 2019 As trade tensions ramp up, investors are fleeing emerging market stocks. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "China Crosses the Renminbi-con—The Ledger," 5 Aug. 2019 The spirit behind the movement dates back to the 1980s, when hundreds of U.S. churches and synagogues provided safe haven to Central Americans fleeing civil conflicts. Washington Post, "Your Questions About ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ Answered," 18 Sep. 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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Statistics for flee

Last Updated

15 Oct 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 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

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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