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

The fugitive then fired at Mikowski, hitting the officer in the legs. Cynthia Sewell, idahostatesman, "Man who shot Meridian officer was a fugitive out on parole," 2 July 2018 Authorities have arrested a fugitive accused of killing a teenage girl and a man inside a southeast Atlanta home earlier this week, FBI Atlanta officials said Friday. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "BREAKING: 62-year-old man arrested in killings of teen, man," 8 June 2018 And in a few minutes, Turkey’s most famous fugitive unfolded his body and stood from the chair, smiled and started to clear dishes from nearby tables. New York Times, "The Famous Soccer Player Hiding in Plain Sight in a California Bakery," 3 May 2018 Deputies closed in on the fugitive and captured him — just 38 minutes after the escape was reported. Jared Gilmour, sacbee, "Inmate escaped 2 days into a 4-day sentence. Freedom was short-lived, deputies say | The Sacramento Bee," 30 Apr. 2018 Anthony Domond was arrested by a law enforcement team that included members of the Norwalk and Stamford police departments and a federal fugitive task force. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Norwalk PD: DUI Driver In Double-Fatal, Head-On Crash Arrested," 17 Apr. 2018 He's accused of six counts of first-degree invasion of personal privacy and being a fugitive from another state, records show. Jim Ryan, OregonLive.com, "Man arrested on suspicion of filming teen girl in Newport bathroom, records show," 9 Apr. 2018 Agencies including the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office, Aurora Police Department and a U.S. Marshals fugitive task force started looking into where Avilas could be. Hannah Leone, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora man gets guilty verdict in sex assault case, immediately leaves courthouse, apprehended downstate," 6 Apr. 2018 Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey commended the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the fugitive task force and Assistant District Attorney Scott Gilliland for their persistence in obtaining the conviction. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "Man pleads guilty to having 131 images of children engaged in sex acts," 27 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The fugitives then switched to a black Renault Megane, before ditching it in a parking lot and carrying on their flight in a white van. Sam Schechner, WSJ, "Yes, Hollywood Did Influence That Helicopter Jailbreak in France," 2 July 2018 Two fugitives in hiding for more than five years after being freed following the 2012 stabbing death of a U.S. Marine in the Philippines, have been re-apprehended. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Two arrested in 2012 stabbing death of US Marine in Philippines," 19 June 2018 The fugitives left behind a Kalashnikov, ammunition clips, a cellphone and a tunic — their DNA was everywhere, according to court testimony. NBC News, "Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam jailed in Brussels case," 23 Apr. 2018 The Department of Public Safety, Lee County Sheriff's Department, Giddings Police Department, and TJJD's Office of Inspector General all pitched in to find the teen fugitives. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Teens who escaped Texas juvenile prison captured in Montgomery County," 22 Apr. 2018 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

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

3 Oct 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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