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

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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

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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 he was a fugitive of the law.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Written from the claustrophobic quarters of a prison cell, the note turns a cliché of leisure into an act of fugitive self-possession. Leslie Jamison, The Atlantic, "The Breathtaking Ingenuity of Incarcerated Artists," 7 Feb. 2021 Abiy has portrayed his military campaign as a law-enforcement drive against Tigray's fugitive politicians, who are backed by their own seasoned military force. Simon Marks And Declan Walsh New York Times, Star Tribune, "Ethiopian troops hunt ex-rulers," 23 Jan. 2021 First Liz calls in a tip to the U.S. Marshals that known fugitive Raymond Reddington is in the hospital. Jodi Walker, EW.com, "The Blacklist recap: A fugitive once more," 23 Jan. 2021 One of the seven, who is currently a fugitive facing corruption allegations in Ukraine, provided edited audio recordings that were subsequently released by Derkach last year, the Treasury Department said. Eric Tucker, ajc, "US imposes new Ukraine sanctions over election interference," 11 Jan. 2021 Ponsetto, who was taken into police custody in California on Thursday on a fugitive warrant, failed to use the interview to apologize to Harrold Jr. and his father, who recorded the incident in the lobby. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Why Did “SoHo Karen” Miya Ponsetto Wear A “Daddy” Hat To Talk To Gayle King?," 11 Jan. 2021 Women rarely sold property—let alone to fugitive slaves. Dorothy Wickenden, The New Yorker, "The Pre-Civil War Fight Against White Supremacy," 18 Jan. 2021 One example highlighted in the report: JPMorgan moved more than $1 billion for the fugitive financier behind Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal, based on records. Jenny Surane, Fortune, "Global bank stocks tumble following ‘FinCEN files’ revelations," 21 Sep. 2020 The officer involved, Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office assigned to a U.S. Marshals Office fugitive task force, remains on administrative leave. Fox News, "Columbus, Ohio, officials release police video of fatal shooting of Black man with cellphone in hand," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Gibbs was arrested Monday morning in Dothan and is being held on no bond in the Houston County Jail as a fugitive from justice. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "Missouri church burglary suspect captured in Dothan," 17 Nov. 2020 Read’s simmering crime story, set in the mountainous West and evocative of classic noir, follows a lonely adolescent through the dissolution of his family into life as a fugitive. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy, From Western Noir to Humanitarian Aid," 20 Jan. 2021 While Polanski has a dark history himself as a fugitive for the rape of a minor, he was also closely linked to some Manson family victims. Katey Clifford, cleveland, "‘Murder in the Family’ | How to watch, live stream, TV channel, time," 23 Jan. 2021 In addition to the rape charge, Stipe was booked with two outstanding attachments and being a fugitive from Kenner police. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "Kenner man accused of raping 12-year-old girl, giving her marijuana: JPSO," 20 Jan. 2021 Rosenberg, after several years as a fugitive in disguise, finally resurfaced in the late fall of 1984. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Behind Susan Rosenberg and the roots of left-wing domestic extremism," 17 Nov. 2020 After Order 66 happened and most of the Jedi were eliminated, Ahsoka became a fugitive from the Empire. Lauren Morgan, EW.com, "The Mandalorian recap: Mando meets a Jedi legend — and learns Baby Yoda's name," 27 Nov. 2020 Hours later, authorities claimed that Goodson, who is Black, had waved a handgun at the deputy, who had been looking for an unrelated fugitive, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Washington Post, "An Ohio deputy was seeking a fugitive. Then he killed an unrelated Black man outside his grandmother’s house.," 23 Nov. 2020 James caught a glimpse of the furry fugitive and exclaimed, ‘There’s a lemur! Nora Mishanec, SFChronicle.com, "Kids got close encounter with escaped lemur," 16 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for fugitive

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

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Statistics for fugitive

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fugitive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fugitive. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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