fugitive

adjective
fu·​gi·​tive | \ ˈfyü-jə-tiv How to pronounce fugitive (audio) \

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

Synonyms for fugitive

Synonyms: Adjective

elusive, evasive, slippery

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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

Facial recognition cameras at a stadium led to the arrest of a fugitive at a Jacky Cheung concert in China, making it the third time in two months that the technology was used to catch a wanted person at one of the pop star's concerts. Hamza Shaban, latimes.com, "Using facial recognition tech at a pop concert, Chinese authorities catch a fugitive," 22 May 2018 Morales was shot once while teaming with other Scott County deputies and Georgetown police officers in assisting the U.S. Marshal's Service in apprehending the fugitive, Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton said Wednesday. Bruce Schreiner, Fox News, "Kentucky troopers: Deputy shot at rest stop, suspect killed," 12 Sep. 2018 The latter group includes notorious Eric Conn, the fugitive who was captured in Honduras in December after fleeing following his conviction for defrauding the Social Security system of more than half a billion dollars. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Want to know if your lawyer is in trouble? It just got easier in Kentucky," 23 Feb. 2018 The other man, Lucas Morton, was taken into custody on suspicion of harboring a fugitive. Fox News, "Father arrested at New Mexico compound due in court; sick son missing," 7 Aug. 2018 The other man, Lucas Morton, was taken into custody on suspicion of harboring a fugitive. Mary Hudetz, The Seattle Times, "Father arrested at NM compound to face court; son missing," 6 Aug. 2018 But this selection was a fugitive from Glenn Dale, growing as a seed deposited by a bird on aneighboring property; Bradford was one of its parents. Adrian Higgins, The Seattle Times, "Scientists thought they had created the perfect tree. But it became a nightmare.," 17 Sep. 2018 Charles Leroy Cagley, 68, was arrested by Prescott Valley Police Department detectives this week, soon after the FBI notified the department about Cagley's fugitive status. Derek Hall, azcentral, "Iowa prison escapee on lam for 37 years arrested in Arizona; wife says it's all a mistake," 30 Mar. 2018 The Serenity is falling apart, and it’s being chased by agents of the Alliance, who are trying to recapture fugitive siblings River and Simon Tam. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Big Damn Hero is a familiar trip back to Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe," 20 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Other fugitives who have found refuge in Hungary include a Hungarian mogul trading in Russian gas who is wanted in Croatia. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "Hungary’s Orban Welcomes Fugitive Autocrat as He Tilts Away From West," 20 Nov. 2018 The reward is funded through a mix of private donors, the city of Newport Beach and U.S. Marshals Service, which list Chadwick as one of its 15 most wanted fugitives. Fox News, "Millionaire murder suspect eludes capture, so cops launch 'true crime' podcast," 21 Sep. 2018 At least 140 people died trying to flee from the eastern side, as East German soldiers along the concrete wall had orders to shoot at fugitives if there was no other way to prevent their escaping, according to the Berlin Wall Foundation. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "From 7 to 77: There's been an explosion in building border walls since World War II," 24 May 2018 In August, police in Quigdao, Shandong province, arrested 25 fugitives thanks to cameras set at a local beer festival. Fox News, "Smart cameras catch alleged crook in crowd of 60,000 at pop concert," 13 Apr. 2018 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

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 and Noun

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

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Statistics for fugitive

Last Updated

7 Mar 2019

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
literary : 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 How to pronounce fugitive (audio) \

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 How to pronounce fugitive (audio) \

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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