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[fyoo-ji-tiv] /ˈfyu dʒɪ tɪv/
a person who is fleeing, from prosecution, intolerable circumstances, etc.; a runaway:
a fugitive from justice; a fugitive from a dictatorial regime.
having taken flight, or run away:
a fugitive slave.
fleeting; transitory; elusive:
fugitive thoughts that could not be formulated.
Fine Arts. changing color as a result of exposure to light and chemical substances present in the atmosphere, in other pigments, or in the medium.
dealing with subjects of passing interest, as writings; ephemeral:
fugitive essays.
wandering, roving, or vagabond:
a fugitive carnival.
Origin of fugitive
1350-1400; < Latin fugitīvus fleeing, equivalent to fugit(us) (past participle of fugere to flee) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English fugitif < Old French
Related forms
fugitively, adverb
fugitiveness, fugitivity, noun
nonfugitive, adjective, noun
nonfugitively, adverb
nonfugitiveness, noun
unfugitive, adjective
unfugitively, adverb
3. transient, passing, flitting, flying, brief, temporary. 5. momentary, evanescent, trivial, light. 6. straying, roaming.
3, 4. permanent. 5. lasting. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fugitive
  • His life as a diplomat, an exile, and sometimes a fugitive was not an easy one.
  • But non-synthetic colors are fugitive, and natural flavors can't be easily ratcheted up or down.
  • AS my friend's surprise illustrated, the delicate perfume of sweet-cream butter is fugitive.
  • Authorities issued an arrest warrant today after he failed to show up for an extradition hearing and was now a fugitive.
  • They are angry that their fugitive ex-president was allowed to leave the country.
  • But the great artist cannot and must not wait for such a rare and fugitive spectacle.
  • It is a fugitive within a theory called the standard model, which describes all the fundamental particles in the universe.
  • Also, it appears that the travel is one way, since a fugitive can escape there and not be returned.
British Dictionary definitions for fugitive


a person who flees
a thing that is elusive or fleeting
fleeing, esp from arrest or pursuit
not permanent; fleeting; transient
moving or roving about
Derived Forms
fugitively, adverb
fugitiveness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin fugitīvus fleeing away, from fugere to take flight, run away
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 fugitive

late 14c. (adjective and noun), from Old French fugitif, from Latin fugitivus "fleeing" (but commonly used as a noun meaning "runaway, fugitive slave, deserter"), from past participle stem of fugere "run away, flee," from PIE root *bheug- (1) "to flee" (cf. Greek pheugein "to flee," Lithuanian bugstu "be frightened"). Replaced Old English flyma.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fugitive in the Bible

Gen. 4:12, 14, a rover or wanderer (Heb. n'a); Judg. 12:4, a refugee, one who has escaped (Heb. palit); 2 Kings 25:11, a deserter, one who has fallen away to the enemy (Heb. nophel); Ezek. 17:21, one who has broken away in flight (Heb. mibrah); Isa. 15:5; 43:14, a breaker away, a fugitive (Heb. beriah), one who flees away.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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