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verb (used without object), fled, flee·ing.
  1. to run away, as from danger or pursuers; take flight.
  2. to move swiftly; fly; speed.
verb (used with object), fled, flee·ing.
  1. to run away from (a place, person, etc.).

Origin of flee

before 900; Middle English fleen, Old English flēon; cognate with Old High German flichan (German fliehen), Gothic thliuhan; compare Old English fleogan to fly1
Related formsout·flee, verb (used with object), out·fled, out·flee·ing.un·flee·ing, adjective
Can be confusedflea flee

Synonyms for flee

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fled

Contemporary Examples of fled

Historical Examples of fled

  • “He fled, when Stephen made in to the rescue of my father,” said Dennet.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • He would have crimsoned to the eyes, no doubt, and fled from the virago.

  • Ah, could I have descended, could I have come down, ere he fled!

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It is used by their prickers and huntsmen when the beast hath not fled, but is still in its lair.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The knaves led them from the stables, but fled without them.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

British Dictionary definitions for fled


  1. the past tense and past participle of flee 1


verb flees, fleeing or fled
  1. to run away from (a place, danger, etc); flyto flee the country
  2. (intr) to run or move quickly; rush; speedshe fled to the door
Derived Formsfleer, noun

Word Origin for flee

Old English flēon; related to Old Frisian fliā, Old High German fliohan, Gothic thliuhan


  1. a Scot word for fly 1
  1. a Scot word for fly 2
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

Word Origin and History for fled

past tense and past participle of flee (q.v.).



Old English fleon "take flight, fly from, avoid, escape" (contracted class II strong verb; past tense fleah, past participle flogen), from Proto-Germanic *thleukhanan (cf. Old High German fliohan, Old Norse flöja, Old Frisian flia, Dutch vlieden, German fliehen, Gothic þliuhan "to flee"), of unknown origin. Not found outside Germanic.

Weak past tense and past participle fled emerged Middle English, under influence of Scandinavian. Old English had a transitive form, geflieman "put to flight," which came in handy in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Related: Fleeing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper