Definition of flee in English:



  • 1Run away from a place or situation of danger.

    ‘a man was shot twice as he fled from five masked youths’
    • ‘When she was eight, her mother fled to a refuge taking Margie and her four siblings with her.’
    • ‘For 18 months they were happy, but there was more trouble and she fled to another refuge.’
    • ‘He fled from the scene on Whetley Hill but later gave himself up to police.’
    • ‘A woman and her children fled from a house and took refuge in a nearby shop when a man in the house brandished a bread knife.’
    • ‘Arrested in France on the orders of British intelligence, he then fled to Switzerland.’
    • ‘Thousands of Arab refugees fled to Lebanon and Jordan, and some were forcibly evicted.’
    • ‘With little choice but to escape again, Bers fled to Paris where his daughter Ruth was born.’
    • ‘He fled to Germany, was jailed there and then extradited to Florida where he spent a few months in jail.’
    • ‘The family fled to Britain, where they were given refuge at Chadderton town hall.’
    • ‘Before the blaze could take hold Fisher put it out and then fled from the premises before the police arrived.’
    • ‘Managing to struggle free, the terrified woman fled to a nearby school before calling police.’
    • ‘A Leigh man accused of burglary fled from a police station after being charged.’
    • ‘The militants also fired few shots to scare the villagers and later fled from the spot.’
    • ‘All three men then fled to Argentina, establishing a route for others to follow.’
    • ‘Before they could be rehoused elsewhere in the city, the family fled to London.’
    • ‘All their neighbours had fled from that place even before the arrival of the rioters.’
    • ‘Workers at a Bolton dairy engineers fled to safety when a gas cylinder exploded in the welding shop today.’
    • ‘Smith said that he found out where the villagers had fled to in Serbia and went there to try to persuade them to return.’
    • ‘It was during one of these visits that she allegedly snatched her son and fled to Mexico.’
    • ‘He fled to West Germany but, with no work and no friends, he decided to return.’
    run, run away, run off, make a run for it, run for it, take flight, be gone, make off, take off, take to one's heels, make a break for it, bolt, beat a retreat, beat a hasty retreat, make a quick exit, make one's getaway, escape, absent oneself, make oneself scarce, abscond, head for the hills, do a disappearing act
    run away from, leave abruptly, leave hastily, fly, escape from
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    1. 1.1with object Run away from (someone or something)
      ‘he was forced to flee the country’
      figurative ‘all remaining doubt that he was a guerilla began to flee my mind’
      • ‘Most of the people who are fleeing persecution never even get to the next country.’
      • ‘After three and a half years, his cover was blown and he had to flee the country for his life.’
      • ‘In some areas, the bosses tried to close factories, sell their machinery and flee the country.’
      • ‘His trial judge refused bail on the grounds he might flee the country or pressure witnesses.’
      • ‘More are forced to flee their homes because of armed violence.’
      • ‘Severe storms caused chaos across the north west and forced thousands of people to flee their homes.’
      • ‘Had she not managed to flee the country she is certain she would have suffered the same fate.’
      • ‘They said they would see how the trial went and if it went against them, would flee the country.’
      • ‘Scores of people were fleeing the jumbo, jumping from the wings, falling down the chutes and running for their lives.’
      • ‘Half the population of nearly five million people were forced to flee their homes.’
      • ‘He grew up as a cringing youth, and eventually became a bank robber and had to flee the country.’
      • ‘The three men flee the country to an undisclosed location before they can be returned to prison.’
      • ‘Despite attempts at compromise Louis 16th was tried after attempting to flee the country.’
      • ‘Urged on by Molly, the girls flee the settlement and begin their perilous journey.’
      • ‘Eight people were forced to flee their homes after a fierce fire spread through a row of houses in Merefield.’
      • ‘People flee such countries in the hope of finding a better life in safer societies, such as Britain.’
      • ‘Anyone who values their sanity or eardrums still has time to flee the country.’
      • ‘He said more than 200 thatched homes had been burnt down, with scores of people fleeing the area.’
      • ‘The owner has also handed his passport to the workers' union as a guarantee he will not flee the country.’
      • ‘Tens of thousands of Iran's professional and middle classes were expelled or forced to flee the country.’
      run away, run off, take to one's heels, beat a hasty retreat, make one's getaway, make a quick exit, make a run for it, run for it, take off, take flight, bolt, fly, make oneself scarce, leave, abscond, decamp, do a disappearing act
      View synonyms


Old English flēon, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vlieden and German fliehen.