fugitive

adjective
fu·gi·tive | \ ˈfyü-jə-tiv \

Definition of fugitive 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : running away or intending flight a fugitive slave a fugitive debtor

2 : moving from place to place : wandering the fugitive clouds of the sky —K. K. Darrow

3a : being of short duration the journalist … is concerned only with the fugitive moment —A. L. Guerard

b : difficult to grasp or retain : elusive thought is clear or muddy, graspable or fugitive —J. M. Barzun

c : likely to evaporate, deteriorate, change, fade, or disappear dyed with fugitive colors

4 : being of transient (see transient entry 1 sense 1) interest fugitive essays

fugitive

noun

Definition of fugitive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person who flees or tries to escape; such as:

a : a person who flees a country or location to escape danger (such as war) or persecution : refugee

b : a person (such as a suspect, witness, or defendant) involved in a criminal case who tries to elude law enforcement especially by fleeing the jurisdiction

called also fugitive from justice

2 : something elusive or hard to find

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Other words from fugitive

Adjective

fugitively adverb
fugitiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fugitive

Adjective

transient, transitory, ephemeral, momentary, fugitive, fleeting, evanescent mean lasting or staying only a short time. transient applies to what is actually short in its duration or stay. a hotel catering primarily to transient guests transitory applies to what is by its nature or essence bound to change, pass, or come to an end. fame in the movies is transitory ephemeral implies striking brevity of life or duration. many slang words are ephemeral momentary suggests coming and going quickly and therefore being merely a brief interruption of a more enduring state. my feelings of guilt were only momentary fugitive and fleeting imply passing so quickly as to make apprehending difficult. let a fugitive smile flit across his face fleeting moments of joy evanescent suggests a quick vanishing and an airy or fragile quality. the story has an evanescent touch of whimsy that is lost in translation

Did You Know?

Noun

Fugitive was adopted into English as both a noun and an adjective in the 14th century. Both forms came to Middle English by way of Middle French from the Latin adjective fugitivus. Fugitivus, in turn, comes from fugitus, the past participle of the verb fugere, meaning "to flee." Since its adoption, the noun fugitive has been used to identify a motley group of individuals: runaway slaves and soldiers, on-the-run criminals, exiles, refugees, and vagabonds. Eventually, it also developed a less commonly used extended sense for things which are difficult to find or pin down.

Examples of fugitive in a Sentence

Adjective

As he daydreamed, fugitive thoughts passed through his mind. that fugitive trait called artistic creativity

Noun

They discovered that the slave was a fugitive.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That led to imaginative stories about a fugitive fleeing a lynch mob. The Economist, "A mummy’s final meal adds to an ancient mystery," 12 July 2018 Crowley is from Portland, Oregon, and was previously arrested in June in Missoula on a fugitive warrant from Oregon for a probation violation, Missoula County prosecutors said. CBS News, "Officers recall finding buried baby; man says he abandoned boy because he was heavy," 11 July 2018 For the four years between his debut studio album channel ORANGE and his almost impossibly delayed 2016 followup blond(e), Frank was also something of a fugitive. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Is It Futile to 'Dissect' Frank Ocean's Work?," 17 May 2018 But Delaney was being held without bond on three fugitive warrants from other jurisdictions and one traffic attachment. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "New Orleans woman arrested in Harahan home invasion," 8 May 2018 Valenzuela didn't appear for trial, however, and the FBI declared him a fugitive. Leada Gore, AL.com, "$10,000 reward offered for fugitive in 1996 plane crash that killed 110, including 2 Alabamians," 11 Apr. 2018 Part of it was also a reaction to the media frenzy surrounding his October 2017 interview with the fugitive Mexican drug lord El Chapo. Debra Filcman, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Books Sean Penn and Stuart Dybek talk about Penn's new novel, which neither of them quite understands," 10 Apr. 2018 What’s happening with the resistance, led by a fugitive Moira (Samira Wiley), in Canada? Vogue, "Blessed Be the New Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 Trailer," 28 Mar. 2018 Richard Brunt, 74, of Lakeland, Fla., was arrested on June 26 and arraigned in a Florida court as a fugitive from justice on June 28, New Hampshire State Police said in a statement. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "In N.H., former Mass. school principal indicted on multiple counts of sexual assault," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Two Texas fugitives are behind bars after they were captured in east Alabama. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "2 Texas fugitives captured in east Alabama," 1 May 2018 In 2012, his execution was again postponed after several fugitives connected to the cult were arrested, allowing authorities to extend the investigation. NBC News, "Founder of doomsday cult behind deadly 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack executed in Japan," 6 July 2018 In the Philippines, the church has sheltered fugitives since the Spanish colonial era, including the country’s first saint, Lorenzo Ruiz, who was executed by the Japanese in the 17th century for refusing to renounce his faith. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Catholic Church Opens Sanctuaries to the Hunted in Philippines Drug War," 5 July 2018 Carlson then obtained a warrant from a Superior Court judge to search the phone, identifying himself as a member of of a task force of federal and state officers tracking fugitives, Chhabria said. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "SF federal judge schools FBI on who can approve search warrants," 3 July 2018 Since then, 484 fugitives have been apprehended or located. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan murder suspect is on FBI's 10 most wanted list," 27 June 2018 The sheriff’s departments whose warrants were not honored declined to comment on the specific cases, saying not enough information was provided by immigration officials to identify the fugitives. Richard Marosi, latimes.com, "Feds won't transfer some immigrant suspects to California custody, citing 'sanctuary state' law," 14 June 2018 In mid-May, after being told of Battle’s second disappearance, Levitt issued a no-bond warrant for Battle, who remained free as a fugitive until his arrest Tuesday night. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "Great America battery fugitive jailed without bond after being caught again," 13 June 2018 Of that group, ICE says 17 had criminal convictions, 14 had pending criminal charges, six previously had been deported, and 14 were fugitives ordered removed by court order. Stu Bykofsky, Philly.com, "On sanctuary city, Rendell says compromise can happen. But Philly and ICE are not interested | Stu Bykofsky," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fugitive.' 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 fugitive

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fugitive

Adjective

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French fugitif, from Latin fugitivus, from fugitus, past participle of fugere to flee; akin to Greek pheugein to flee

Noun

see fugitive entry 1

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Statistics for fugitive

Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fugitive

The first known use of fugitive was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for fugitive

fugitive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of fugitive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: running away to avoid being captured

: lasting a very short time

fugitive

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fugitive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who is running away to avoid being captured; especially : a person who is trying to escape being arrested by the police

fugitive

adjective
fu·gi·tive | \ ˈfyü-jə-tiv \

Kids Definition of fugitive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: running away or trying to escape a fugitive prisoner

fugitive

noun

Kids Definition of fugitive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who is running away

fugitive

adjective
fu·gi·tive | \ ˈfyü-jət-iv \

Medical Definition of fugitive 

: tending to be inconstant or transient fugitive aches and pains —Berton Roueche

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fugitive

noun
fu·gi·tive | \ ˈfyü-jə-tiv \

Legal Definition of fugitive 

: a person who flees especially : a person who flees one jurisdiction (as a state) for another in order to elude law enforcement personnel

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Comments on fugitive

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