flee

verb

fled ˈfled How to pronounce flee (audio) ; fleeing

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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.

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Six people were arrested in Waterbury on Wednesday after hitting two police cruisers while trying to flee a traffic stop, according to police. Mike Mavredakis, Hartford Courant, 23 Dec. 2022 My film is about the final eight months of the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history, seen through the eyes of the U.S. military, Afghan military and civilians desperately trying to flee the country. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Dec. 2022 While trying to flee persecution in China, Ayoob Mohammed, an Uyghur man, found himself in Afghanistan when the U.S. invaded the country in response to 9/11. Longreads, 6 Dec. 2022 Austin Lee Edwards, a former Virginia police officer believed to have killed the three family members, was himself killed in a shootout while trying to flee authorities, according to a news release from the Riverside Police Department. Stella Chan, CNN, 30 Nov. 2022 At least 68 people were injured, mostly while trying to flee homes. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 24 Nov. 2022 Of the 25 injured, at least seven were in critical condition and some were hurt trying to flee from the incident, authorities said. Thao Nguyen, USA TODAY, 21 Nov. 2022 Of the 18 people injured, some were in critical condition and at least two had been treated and released, officials said, adding that some were hurt trying to flee. The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Nov. 2022 While trying to stop it, the motorist kept driving and accelerated, trying to flee officers. cleveland, 18 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English flen, from Old English flēon; akin to Old High German fliohan to flee

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of flee was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near flee

Cite this Entry

“Flee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flee. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

flee

verb
fled ˈfled How to pronounce flee (audio) ; fleeing
1
a
: to run away often from danger or evil : fly
b
: to run away from : shun
2
: to pass away swiftly : vanish
the mist fled before the rising sun

More from Merriam-Webster on flee

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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