Definition of flee in US English:


verbfled, fleeing, flees

[no object]
  • 1Run away from a place or situation of danger.

    ‘a man was shot twice as he fled from five masked youths’
    • ‘He fled to Germany, was jailed there and then extradited to Florida where he spent a few months in jail.’
    • ‘Before they could be rehoused elsewhere in the city, the family fled to London.’
    • ‘Workers at a Bolton dairy engineers fled to safety when a gas cylinder exploded in the welding shop today.’
    • ‘Arrested in France on the orders of British intelligence, he then fled to Switzerland.’
    • ‘Smith said that he found out where the villagers had fled to in Serbia and went there to try to persuade them to return.’
    • ‘With little choice but to escape again, Bers fled to Paris where his daughter Ruth was born.’
    • ‘It was during one of these visits that she allegedly snatched her son and fled to Mexico.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All their neighbours had fled from that place even before the arrival of the rioters.’
    • ‘A Leigh man accused of burglary fled from a police station after being charged.’
    • ‘Thousands of Arab refugees fled to Lebanon and Jordan, and some were forcibly evicted.’
    • ‘For 18 months they were happy, but there was more trouble and she fled to another refuge.’
    • ‘When she was eight, her mother fled to a refuge taking Margie and her four siblings with her.’
    • ‘Managing to struggle free, the terrified woman fled to a nearby school before calling police.’
    • ‘He fled to West Germany but, with no work and no friends, he decided to return.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He fled from the scene on Whetley Hill but later gave himself up to police.’
    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
    View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘His trial judge refused bail on the grounds he might flee the country or pressure witnesses.’
      • ‘Tens of thousands of Iran's professional and middle classes were expelled or forced to flee the country.’
      • ‘Half the population of nearly five million people were forced to flee their homes.’
      • ‘Eight people were forced to flee their homes after a fierce fire spread through a row of houses in Merefield.’
      • ‘Despite attempts at compromise Louis 16th was tried after attempting to flee the country.’
      • ‘More are forced to flee their homes because of armed violence.’
      • ‘After three and a half years, his cover was blown and he had to flee the country for his life.’
      • ‘They said they would see how the trial went and if it went against them, would flee the country.’
      • ‘People flee such countries in the hope of finding a better life in safer societies, such as Britain.’
      • ‘Most of the people who are fleeing persecution never even get to the next country.’
      • ‘The owner has also handed his passport to the workers' union as a guarantee he will not flee the country.’
      • ‘Had she not managed to flee the country she is certain she would have suffered the same fate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Scores of people were fleeing the jumbo, jumping from the wings, falling down the chutes and running for their lives.’
      • ‘Urged on by Molly, the girls flee the settlement and begin their perilous journey.’
      • ‘Severe storms caused chaos across the north west and forced thousands of people to flee their homes.’
      • ‘In some areas, the bosses tried to close factories, sell their machinery and 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.