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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from fugitive

Adjective

fugitively adverb
fugitiveness noun

Synonyms for fugitive

Synonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 he was a fugitive of the law.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Carter obtained an arrest warrant for Barfield on Dec. 29, and the U.S. Marshal’s fugitive unit began looking for him. Tim Darnell, ajc, "Arrest made in 17-year-old Georgia cold case murder," 22 Jan. 2021 The officers included members of city, county and state police and federal agents working together in a regional fugitive task force. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Prosecutors rule fatal 2020 police shooting in Northeast Baltimore justified," 12 Mar. 2021 What good, after all, is a freedom that remains forever fugitive? Justin Taylor, Harper's Magazine, "Every True Pleasure Is a Secret," 16 Mar. 2021 Almost three years ago, a delegation from XG went to Fox to pitch a fugitive-hunting show. Rachel Monroe, Vulture, "The Criminal Minds of Jim and Tim," 15 Mar. 2021 Out of the 45 episodes, all but four included at least one non-fugitive. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon And Bobby Block, orlandosentinel.com, "Brevard sheriff’s fugitive game show features people who aren’t fugitives," 14 Mar. 2021 Guo Wengui, the fugitive billionaire Chinese businessman who now makes his home in New York. Adele M. Stan, The New Republic, "Insurrectionist in Chief," 10 Mar. 2021 The daughter of a fugitive Mexican cartel boss — and a top U.S. target — is expected to plead guilty to a felony charge for helping the drug empire, according to documents filed in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "Daughter of elusive billionaire cartel kingpin to plead guilty in US," 10 Mar. 2021 The report stated that 47% of those emissions stem from fugitive gas and pipeline leaks, a problem that can be addressed through better monitoring of facilities with IoT and AI technologies. Barry Po, Forbes, "Can AI Help Heavy Industries Meet Today’s Tougher ESG Standards?," 9 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This Allie, though, isn’t just a bitter, misunderstood genius, but a fugitive from justice who only decides to leave the country after federal agents (played by Kimberly Elise and James LeGros) get wise to his newest identity. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "‘The Mosquito Coast’: Justin Theroux Heads South of the Border," 29 Apr. 2021 Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved (1987) dramatizes the real-life story of Margaret Garner, a fugitive who, on the verge of being captured, chose to kill her two-year-old daughter to prevent her from growing up in slavery. David S. Reynolds, The New York Review of Books, "When Slaves Fled to Mexico," 27 Apr. 2021 Reynoso was booked on a fugitive from justice charge. BostonGlobe.com, "New York homicide suspect arrested in Methuen," 26 Apr. 2021 Scholars, eager to acquire a new translation of Plato, might enter Vespasiano’s bookshop under the dangling feet of a fugitive recently caught and hanged there by Lorenzo. Ernest Hilbert, WSJ, "‘The Bookseller of Florence’ Review: Manuscripts and Medicis," 23 Apr. 2021 Richard Gardipee, 33, of the 700 block of West State Street, Rockford, was arrested on a charge of being a fugitive from justice at 2:27 a.m. April 1 in the 200 block of West Jefferson Avenue. Ken Manson, chicagotribune.com, "Naperville Police Beat," 15 Apr. 2021 Emily VanCamp gives Sharon this cynical edge that truly underscores how much being a fugitive has changed her in the past few years. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier recap: A trip to Madripoor," 2 Apr. 2021 Since King is a fugitive from another state, she is being held without bail in Clark County Detention Center, police said. Washington Post, "Uber passengers coughed on a driver and ripped off his mask. One has been arrested.," 12 Mar. 2021 After being released, Manzo eluded a police dragnet and remained a fugitive for three weeks. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, "After three weeks on the run, murder defendant wrongly released from jail is caught in Cypress," 29 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fugitive

Time Traveler for fugitive

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about fugitive

Statistics for fugitive

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fugitive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fugitive. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on fugitive

What made you want to look up fugitive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!