\ 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 Taiwan, where sympathy protests were held in support of Hong Kong over the weekend, has long been a destination for those fleeing Communist rule in China. James Griffiths, CNN, "Hong Kong protesters have promised a 'miracle' but China's national security law seems impossible to stop," 25 May 2020 Then everyone’s rent goes up, and the property taxes go up, and eventually the longtime residents who can’t afford to stay are dispersed as the newcomers reclaim the neighborhoods their parents and grandparents once fled. John Carlisle, Freep.com, "Detroit neighborhood group sees gentrification as the enemy," 24 May 2020 Many residents came here fleeing unrest in China, most notably after the 1949 Communist revolution. Hannah Beech, BostonGlobe.com, "‘I am just Hong Kong’: a city’s fate in China’s hands," 23 May 2020 Miami-Dade police department says the mother first claimed she was ambushed by two black men who demanded drugs and took her cellphone, tablet and son, before fleeing Thursday night, prompting an Amber Alert in the area south of Miami. USA TODAY, "Police: Miami mom faked son’s abduction, faces murder charge," 23 May 2020 Early evidence shows that even if contact-tracing apps use state-of-the-art privacy protections, accuracy concerns may send users fleeing. Wired Opinion, Wired, "The Success of Contact Tracing Doesn't Just Depend on Privacy," 23 May 2020 Two people were killed when an SUV fleeing a hit-and-run hurtled off a Plano roadway and hit a dump truck on North Central Expressway Wednesday afternoon, police said. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "2 killed when fleeing SUV careens off Plano roadway and onto U.S. 75, hitting dump truck," 21 May 2020 In early April, mom influencers faced a backlash for fleeing New York in ways their followers felt were unsafe. Jessica Grose, New York Times, "Want More on Parenting and Social Media?," 20 May 2020 The occupants of the striking vehicle fled the scene on foot, Cook said. Vic Ryckaert, The Indianapolis Star, "1 killed, 1 hurt in east-side crash; suspects left scene on foot," 20 May 2020

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

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flee. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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

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