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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for fugitives
  • The team will stay here for a month, using dogs to sniff out fugitives.
  • The cities fill with fugitives who speak of the horror in hushed voices.
  • Three or four soldiers stood on the lawn of the inn, staring and jesting at the fugitives, without offering to help.
  • Some cities had been founded in wild and remote situations, by fugitives who had escaped from the rage of the barbarians.
  • The governor ordered state troopers to find the fugitives and bring them back.
  • He says he hopes to expand the cyber-posters to cover other categories of fugitives as well.
  • The chancellor ordered the names of two fugitives linked to violent crimes removed from the entrance to a student clubroom.
  • Do not attempt to apprehend any of these fugitives yourself.
  • fugitives from labor were to be arrested and carried back to their employers.
British Dictionary definitions for fugitives


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 fugitives


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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fugitives 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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