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 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 Additionally, the proposition comes after a 2017 incident in which fugitive gas from a nearby oil well owned by Anadarko caused a home in Firestone, Colorado, to explode, killing two men and injuring a woman and a child. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "States will vote on these energy and environment issues in midterm elections," 4 Nov. 2018 The city Medical Examiner did not determine a cause of death Wednesday, although police sources indicate Odom was possibly strangled before the fugitive killer hacked up the corpse. Sun-Sentinel.com, "'Chocolate' tattoo helps ID butchered woman whose body parts were strewn in Brooklyn park," 12 Apr. 2018 Graham is a fugitive, and the ATF is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest, reports CBS Chicago. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Manhunt for suspect after ATF agent shot in undercover gun buy operation," 8 June 2018 Part play and part escape-room-style game, audience members will be transported back to 1852 and recruited to aid a fugitive slave in a Milwaukee-area theater group's dramatization of the Underground Railroad later this month near Menomonee Falls. Henry J. Morgan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Colgate 'Underground Railroad' production is part play, part escape room, part golf course," 6 July 2018 In 1952, the Italian government moved to extradite the fugitive, before reconsidering in the face of public protests and bad press. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Republic, "The partisan world of Pablo Neruda," 2 July 2018 Carrie is perhaps the most heartbreaking, her face pressed close to the lens, whispering plaintively like a fugitive, apologetically unburdening her palpable panic, pain, and loneliness. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "An unflinching look at ‘The Pain of Others’," 28 June 2018 In 1834, though he was only allowed to audit classes, James Pennington, a fugitive slave, became the first African American to study at Yale Divinity School. Arica L. Coleman, Time, "Bias Training at Starbucks Is a Reminder That the History of Racism Is About Who Belongs Where," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

12 Dec 2018

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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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