Synonyms & Antonyms of escape

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 to get free from a dangerous or confining situation
  • everyone managed to escape from the burning building in time

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2 to get or keep away from (as a responsibility) through cleverness or trickery
  • a judge who is very determined not to let criminals escape punishment

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Synonyms & Antonyms of escape (Entry 2 of 2)

1 the act or an instance of getting free from danger or confinement
  • a daring prison escape

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2 the act or a means of getting or keeping away from something undesirable
  • the reading of science fiction novels as an escape from boring reality

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About escape

How does the verb escape contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of escape are avoid, elude, eschew, evade, and shun. While all these words mean "to get away or keep away from something," escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent.

nothing escapes her sharp eyes

When could avoid be used to replace escape?

The words avoid and escape can be used in similar contexts, but avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty.

try to avoid past errors

When is it sensible to use elude instead of escape?

The words elude and escape are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes.

what she sees in him eludes me

When is eschew a more appropriate choice than escape?

While in some cases nearly identical to escape, eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful.

a playwright who eschews melodrama

When can evade be used instead of escape?

In some situations, the words evade and escape are roughly equivalent. However, evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding.

evaded the question by changing the subject

When would shun be a good substitute for escape?

The meanings of shun and escape largely overlap; however, shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence.

you have shunned your responsibilities

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Time Traveler for escape

Time Traveler

The first known use of escape was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Escape.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on escape

Nglish: Translation of escape for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of escape for Arabic Speakers


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