fugitive

Someone who flees or runs away from the police to avoid capture is a fugitive. "Authorities were looking for three men who escaped from prison today. Authorities believe the three fugitives may be disguised as nuns and advise the public to be careful."

Although a fugitive can specifically be someone fleeing from the police, the noun can also refer to anyone who is fleeing from an untenable situation. "The family asked for asylum in the United States because they were fugitives from their own oppressive government." As an adjective, the word can mean "fleeing or fleeting." "Many people helped the fugitive slaves to safety." "At night, he was plagued with fugitive thoughts: they seemed important when he woke from sleep, but by morning he had forgotten them."

Definitions of fugitive
  1. noun
    someone who is sought by law officers; someone trying to elude justice
    synonyms: fugitive from justice
    see moresee less
    types:
    absconder
    a fugitive who runs away and hides to avoid arrest or prosecution
    escapee
    someone who escapes
    alien absconder
    a fugitive remaining in the United States after an immigration judge has ordered them deported
    type of:
    criminal, crook, felon, malefactor, outlaw
    someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime
  2. noun
    someone who flees from an uncongenial situation
    fugitives from the sweatshops”
    synonyms: fleer, runaway
  3. adjective
    lasting for a markedly brief time
    fugitive hours”
    synonyms: fleeting, momentaneous, momentary
    short
    primarily temporal sense; indicating or being or seeming to be limited in duration
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week