es·​cape | \ i-ˈskāp How to pronounce escape (audio) , e-, dialectal ik-ˈskāp \
escaped; escaping

Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to get away (as by flight) escaped from prison
b : to issue from confinement gas is escaping
c of a plant : to run wild from cultivation
2 : to avoid a threatening evil the boat sank but the crew escaped

transitive verb

1 : to get free of : break away from escape the jungle escape the solar system
2 : to get or stay out of the way of : avoid efforts to escape poverty
3 : to fail to be noticed or recallable by his name escapes me
4a : to issue from a smile escaped me
b : to be uttered involuntarily by a sigh of relief escaped her



Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an act or instance of escaping: such as
a : flight from confinement
b : evasion of something undesirable
c : leakage or outflow especially of a fluid
d : distraction or relief from routine or reality
2 : a means of escape
3 : a cultivated plant run wild
4 or less commonly Escape : escape key



Definition of escape (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : providing a means of escape escape literature
2 : providing a means of evading a regulation, claim, or commitment an escape clause in a contract

Other Words from escape


escaper noun

Synonyms for escape

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for escape


escape, avoid, evade, elude, shun, eschew 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 avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty. try to avoid past errors evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding. evaded the question by changing the subject elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes. what she sees in him eludes me shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence. you have shunned your responsibilities eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful. a playwright who eschews melodrama

Did you know?

If you were being held captive by someone gripping the coat or cloak you were wearing, you might be able to get away by slipping out of it. This is the idea on which the word escape is based. Escape is made up of the Latin prefix ex-, which means “out of,” and the Latin word cappa, which means “head covering” or “cloak.”

Examples of escape in a Sentence

Verb They managed to escape from the burning building. He needed a vacation to escape the routine of daily life. She moved to the city to escape the memory of her mother's death. trying to help people to escape poverty trying to help people to escape from poverty He succeeded in escaping punishment for many years. A few passengers somehow escaped injury. She barely escaped death when her car slid off the road. Several passengers escaped without injury. Noun The prisoners attempted a daring escape. He celebrated his escape from his boring job with a long vacation. She had a lucky escape when she wasn't injured in the accident. She managed to avoid serious injury, but it was a narrow escape. The door was locked; there was no escape. Gardening offered an escape from her busy life. an accidental escape of poisonous gases trying to prevent further escape of liquid See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Maybe this bill will let Democrats escape what was shaping up to be a midterm whooping. Karl Rove, WSJ, 10 Aug. 2022 The crush of people trying to escape underscored the fears of Taliban rule upending life, especially for young Afghans who had never lived under its regime. Ruby Mellen, Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2022 In the midst of financial news that seems to get grimmer by the day, one story of a man trying to escape caught my eye. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 4 Aug. 2022 One story — about a mother who had been with a group of South Koreans trying to escape from a North Korean patrol, and who smothered her baby to avoid jeopardizing their safety — stuck with him. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 2 Aug. 2022 In this exclusive excerpt, Thrasher tells the origin story of the infamous U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, decades before the war on terror, when scores of desperate Haitians were trying to escape their country during a violent coup. Steven W. Thrasher, Rolling Stone, 2 Aug. 2022 His funeral home recently buried a 67-year-old woman who had a heart attack while trying to escape her home as the water rose. Rebecca Reynolds, ajc, 1 Aug. 2022 The number of Haitians attempting to migrate by boat increased dramatically last year, according to the United Nations, which noted many people are trying to escape and worsening gang violence, especially in Port-au-Prince, the capital city. Carlie Porterfield, Forbes, 24 July 2022 Nathan refused to let Maxwell escape culpability, making clear that Maxwell was being punished for her own actions, not Epstein’s. Larry Neumeister,, 28 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Lands Between, like Lordran and Boletaria before, is a place of escape—into danger, true, but also into a world where struggle is surmountable and where overcoming that struggle brings real satisfaction a sense of accomplishment and joy. Erik Kain, Forbes, 10 Aug. 2022 In an interview, Rafelson, the son of a hat maker and abusive, alcoholic mother, said that Dupea was a character in need of escape. Variety, NBC News, 25 July 2022 But Peyote Trip just has to get one more member of the Harrison family to sign away their soul and his plan of escape is in motion. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 28 July 2022 In an interview, Rafelson, the son of a hat maker and abusive, alcoholic mother, said that Dupea was a character in need of escape. Variety, NBC News, 25 July 2022 In an interview, Rafelson, the son of a hat maker and abusive, alcoholic mother, said that Dupea was a character in need of escape. Rick Schultz, Variety, 24 July 2022 Prior to their rescue, the Turpin siblings, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time of the escape, had spent most of their lives indoors — hidden from the outside world — where they were regularly beaten and starved. Alexandra Schonfeld,, 20 July 2022 The Vernon Police Department said that Ervin left his dorm and scaled a fence on the evening of the escape. Paul Best, Fox News, 12 July 2022 One of the truths behind the beat is that escape from the nine-to-five is a privilege few can afford. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 15 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective One more benefit of recounting and recording your dreams is simply escape. David G. Allan, CNN, 4 Aug. 2022 Both works draw a line between the anti-escape devices used to control the enslaved and the subtler constraints on contemporary Black dissent. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 4 May 2022 If possible, collect the bat in an escape-proof container with air holes and take to a local veterinarian for euthanasia. Leada Gore |, al, 8 Mar. 2022 On Wednesday, the 40-year-old stunt performer shared an update on his health after he was hospitalized last week following an escape act gone wrong at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where the show is being filmed. Karen Mizoguchi,, 20 Oct. 2021 Authorities searched around Stevenson Park but could not locate Tidwell, who will face additional escape charges, the sheriff’s office said. Howard Koplowitz |, al, 4 Dec. 2019 Another epic escape act seems improbable, but can't be ruled out if Di Francesco gets his tactics right in Rome. Stevens Griffiths,, 24 Apr. 2018 During his final three matches at the sectional, Skokna consistently employed a strategy of letting his opponent get escape points without trying to keep him down. Patrick Kelly,, 16 Feb. 2018 The Saturn 5, which flew 13 times, had an Earth-escape payload capacity of more than 100,000 pounds, about three times the capability of the Falcon Heavy. William Harwood, CBS News, 4 Feb. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'escape.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of escape


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for escape


Middle English, from Anglo-French escaper, eschaper, from Vulgar Latin *excappare, from Latin ex- + Late Latin cappa head covering, cloak

Learn More About escape

Time Traveler for escape

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near escape



escape artist

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Statistics for escape

Last Updated

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Escape.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for escape


es·​cape | \ i-ˈskāp How to pronounce escape (audio) \
escaped; escaping

Kids Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to get away : get free or clear Everyone escaped from the burning building.
2 : to keep free of : avoid She managed to escape injury.
3 : to fail to be noticed or remembered by The name escapes me.
4 : to leak out Gas is escaping from the tank.



Kids Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of getting away a narrow escape
2 : a way of getting away … there was no escape except up the cliff.— Jack London, The Call of the Wild


es·​cape | \ is-ˈkāp How to pronounce escape (audio) \
escaped; escaping

Medical Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to avoid or find relief from something by means of an escape

transitive verb

: to avoid or find relief from (something) by means of an escape he was unable to escape reality



Medical Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 3)

: an act or instance of escaping: as
a : evasion of something undesirable find no method of escape from pain and suffering
b : distraction or relief from routine or reality especially : mental distraction or relief by flight into idealizing fantasy or fiction that serves to glorify the self



Medical Definition of escape (Entry 3 of 3)

: providing a means of escape escape literature


intransitive verb
escaped; escaping

Legal Definition of escape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to depart from lawful custody with the intent of avoiding confinement or the administration of justice



Legal Definition of escape (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of escaping
2 : the criminal offense of escaping

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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