escape - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participleescaping
past tenseescaped
past participleescaped
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to get away from a place where you are in danger

    Three people died in the fire, but John escaped through the bedroom window.

    escape from:

    His family escaped from Germany and arrived in Britain in 1938.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to get away from a very unpleasant situation
      escape from:

      She saw university as a way to escape from her oppressive home life.

    2. b.
      [intransitive] to get away from a place that you are not allowed to leave, for example a prison

      She was shot while trying to escape.

    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] to get away from an embarrassing or annoying situation

      Maggie started talking to me and I thought I’d never escape.

      escape someone’s clutches:

      He was trying to escape the clutches of two amorous young girls.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to avoid being killed or seriously injured in an accident or attack
    escape with:

    Mr Smith escaped with cuts and bruises.

    escape unhurt/unharmed/unscathed:

    Her two-week-old baby escaped unscathed.

    escape with your life (=avoid being killed):

    He was lucky to escape with his life.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to avoid a difficult or unpleasant situation

      The area has escaped the ravages of war.

      Hughes seems certain to escape punishment.

      narrowly escape:

      Durham narrowly escaped defeat in their first match of the season.

    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] to avoid thinking about or dealing with an unpleasant situation that you are in
      escape from:

      The cinema allowed people to escape from the depressing realities of their lives.

  3. 3
    [transitive] if something escapes you, you cannot remember it or you do not notice it

    His name escapes me right now.

    It seems to have escaped him that I was the one who first introduced him to her.

    escape your attention/notice:

    It had not escaped my attention that Joseph was absent.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to come out of a container, usually by accident

    How will we know if there’s any gas escaping?

    About five tonnes of crude oil had escaped into the sea.

    1. a.
      literary to come out of your mouth, although you did not intend it to

      A weary sigh escaped from her lips.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] informal to go away on holiday

    We’re hoping to escape to the Algarve in May.