- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for fugitive
Detectives with a fugitive task force caught up with Polanco and a friend on a Bronx street in the early afternoon.Shot Down During the NYPD Slowdown
January 7, 2015
And Daniel Webster, a great opponent of slavery, supported the vile Compromise of 1850, Fugitive Slave Act and all.Election Day Is Scarier Than Halloween
P. J. O’Rourke
November 1, 2014
He had made arrangements to surrender but failed to show and was picked up as a fugitive in Pennsylvania.Manhunt for a Cop-Hating Pennsylvania ‘Survivalist’
September 17, 2014
In 1964 you were given a guest star spot on the series The Fugitive.The Unsinkable Lee Grant Sets the Record Straight
July 23, 2014
He spends the rest of the movie struggling to clear his name and channeling Harrison Ford from The Fugitive.‘Persecuted’ Is the Christian Right’s Paranoid Wet Dream
July 22, 2014
His reason for not pursuing the fugitive may be readily understood.Brave and Bold
Bill had horses which could outrun the fugitive, and why did he not use them?
His name was instantly passed on by the fugitive to his fellows as a "safe" man.
At the house they parted and headed the fugitive toward the stables.Chip, of the Flying U
B. M. Bower
The hot pursuit of the fugitive plunderers had ruined the day.Cameos from English History, from Rollo to Edward II
Charlotte Mary Yonge
- 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
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.