- 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
- 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 fugitivity
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.