8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary


[flee] /fli/
verb (used without object), fled, fleeing.
to run away, as from danger or pursuers; take flight.
to move swiftly; fly; speed.
verb (used with object), fled, fleeing.
to run away from (a place, person, etc.).
before 900; Middle English fleen, Old English flēon; cognate with Old High German flichan (German fliehen), Gothic thliuhan; compare Old English fleogan to fly1
Related forms
outflee, verb (used with object), outfled, outfleeing.
unfleeing, adjective
Can be confused
flea, flee.
3. evade, escape, avoid, shun, elude. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for fleeing
  • It's all doom and gloom in commercial newspapers these days: buyouts, layoffs, and fleeing advertisers.
  • Three of us are fleeing north, away from the flaming towers.
  • But after fleeing his home with hardly a trace, he never touched the violin again.
  • Such of them as escaped wounds and capture are fleeing routed and panic stricken, and disappearing in the woods.
  • Snakes that thrived in moist marshes in the country are now fleeing their parched habitats for nearby towns.
  • Once the fleeing gangsters take to the rural highways, it is usually impossible for the police to overtake them.
  • The people-fleeing-from-dinosaurs-on-an-island bit has been done.
  • Maya and her clan broke away a decade ago, fleeing toward the river after warriors fought over her.
  • Or maybe they are refugees fleeing another aggressor.
  • And of course there are stragglers who deviously catch the fleeing cattle first, and secure the best or only portions.
British Dictionary definitions for fleeing


verb flees, fleeing, fled
to run away from (a place, danger, etc); fly: to flee the country
(intransitive) to run or move quickly; rush; speed: she fled to the door
Derived Forms
fleer, noun
Word Origin
Old English flēon; related to Old Frisian fliā, Old High German fliohan, Gothic thliuhan


a Scot word for fly1
a Scot word for fly2
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fleeing



Old English fleon "take flight, fly from, avoid, escape" (contracted class II strong verb; past tense fleah, past participle flogen), from Proto-Germanic *thleukhanan (cf. Old High German fliohan, Old Norse flöja, Old Frisian flia, Dutch vlieden, German fliehen, Gothic þliuhan "to flee"), of unknown origin. Not found outside Germanic.

Weak past tense and past participle fled emerged Middle English, under influence of Scandinavian. Old English had a transitive form, geflieman "put to flight," which came in handy in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Related: Fleeing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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