\ 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

Two unknown suspects assaulted two victims and stole a phone before fleeing. Washington Post, "Prince George's crime report," 20 June 2019 Refugees at our border are fleeing horrific conditions that are in part the long-term results of American interventions in their homelands. Stephen Kinzer, BostonGlobe.com, "Who’s responsible for the border crisis? The United States," 20 June 2019 Many of their friends and allies had fled, spooked in part by too much bad press. Christine Biederman, WIRED, "Inside Backpage.com’s Vicious Battle With the Feds," 18 June 2019 The Infiniti struck the marked unit’s door, injuring the officer, and also struck another officer’s marked police car before fleeing. Laura Mcknight, nola.com, "NOPD searching for motorist suspected of injuring officer," 17 June 2019 Hundreds of thousands have fled the bombing and taken shelter in a sprawling refugee camp. Holly Williams, CBS News, "Syrian civilians seek refuge as bombings hit hospitals inside Idlib," 17 June 2019 Cochran pulled a gun, the victim fled, and Cochran fired two shots, one of which hit the victim in the leg. oregonlive.com, "Man indicted in Centennial Fred Meyer shooting," 15 June 2019 The most immediate cause was a gruesome case involving a teenage Hong Konger, Chan Tong-kai, who murdered his pregnant girlfriend during a trip to Taiwan in 2018 and dumped her body in in a suitcase before fleeing back to Hong Kong. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Everything you need to know about Hong Kong’s extradition law," 11 June 2019 The attackers also robbed the couple before fleeing the bus. Fox News, "Flight attendant and American girlfriend attacked by gang of men on London bus after refusing to kiss," 8 June 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

25 Jun 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

Comments on flee

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showing courage and determination

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