[ fyoo-ji-tiv ]
/ ˈfyu dʒɪ tɪv /
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a person who is fleeing, as from prosecution, intolerable circumstances, etc.; a runaway: a fugitive from justice;a fugitive from a dictatorial regime.


having taken flight, or run away: The Fugitive Slave Act was part of the Compromise of 1850 that led the United States even closer to civil war.
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.



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Origin of fugitive

First recorded in 1350–1400; from Latin fugitīvus “fleeing,” equivalent to fugit(us) (past participle of fugere “to flee”) + -īvus adjective suffix (see -ive); replacing Middle English fugitif, from Old French
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for fugitive

/ (ˈfjuːdʒɪtɪv) /


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
fugitively, adverbfugitiveness, noun
C14: from Latin fugitīvus fleeing away, from fugere to take flight, run away
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
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