Meaning of ESCAPE in English


I. es ‧ cape 1 S3 W2 /ɪˈskeɪp/ BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ escape , ↑ escapism , ↑ escapee , ↑ escapologist ; adjective : ↑ escaped , ↑ inescapable , ↑ escapist ; verb : ↑ escape ; adverb : ↑ inescapably ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old North French ; Origin: escaper , from Vulgar Latin excappare , from Late Latin cappa 'head-covering' ; from the idea of throwing off something that limits your movement ]

1 . PERSON/PLACE [intransitive] to leave a place when someone is trying to catch you or stop you, or when there is a dangerous situation:

He broke down the locked door and escaped.

escape from/through/over etc

He escaped from prison in October.

escape to

She escaped to Britain in 1938.

2 . DANGER [intransitive and transitive] to get away from a dangerous or bad situation

escape with

He escaped with minor injuries.

escape unhurt/unscathed/unharmed etc

A boy escaped unhurt when the fire in his room exploded.

They went to the hills to escape the summer heat.

escape sb’s clutches (=escape from someone)

The youth was trying to escape the clutches of two drunken female companions.

3 . AVOID [intransitive and transitive] to avoid something bad or that you do not want to happen:

He narrowly escaped death in an avalanche.

The two passengers escaped serious injury.

They must not be allowed to escape justice.

It seemed impossible he would escape detection.

4 . GAS/LIQUID ETC [intransitive] if gas, liquid, light, heat etc escapes from somewhere, it comes out:

Vents allow any steam to escape if the system overheats.

5 . SOUND [intransitive and transitive] literary if a sound escapes from someone, they accidentally make that sound:

A small laugh escaped her.

escape from

Holman let a weary sigh escape from his lips.

6 . escape sb’s attention/notice if something escapes your attention or notice, you do not see it or realize that it is there

7 . the name/date/title etc escapes somebody used to say that someone cannot remember something:

For some reason which escapes me, we had to take a taxi.

8 . there’s no escaping (the fact) used to emphasize that something is definitely important or will definitely happen:

There’s no escaping the fact that work has profound effects on emotions and health.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meanings 1,2&3)

■ verbs

▪ try/attempt to escape

Some prisoners tried to escape, but most were recaptured or shot.

■ nouns

▪ escape injury (=not be hurt)

Both drivers were lucky to escape serious injury.

▪ escape justice (=not be caught and punished)

These terrorists must not be allowed to escape justice.

▪ escape detection (=not be noticed)

Some insects manage to escape detection by merging with the background.

▪ escape sb’s clutches (=escape and not be caught be someone)

He managed to escape the men’s clutches and run off.

■ phrases

▪ narrowly escape something (=only just avoid having something bad happen to you)

The firemen narrowly escaped being killed by the explosion.

▪ escape with your life (=escape and not be killed)

When the tunnel collapsed, the men were lucky to escape with their lives.

▪ escape unharmed/unscathed/unhurt

Two policemen were killed, but the president escaped unharmed.

▪ escape alive

The crew of the sinking vessel were lucky to escape alive.

• • •


▪ escape to leave a place when someone is trying to catch you or stop you, or when there is a dangerous situation:

The thief escaped through an upstairs window.


She managed to escape from her attacker and call the police.

▪ get away to escape from someone who is chasing you, especially when there is no chance that you will be caught. Get away is more informal than escape :

The robbers got away but left plenty of clues at the scene.


Don’t let him get away!

▪ break free/break away to escape from someone who is holding you:

She broke free and started running.

▪ flee written to leave somewhere very quickly in order to escape from danger:

Many people were forced to flee the country.


The two men fled before police arrived.

▪ get out to escape from a building or room:

I was locked in the room and couldn’t get out.

▪ break out to escape from prison:

The jail is so secure that no one has ever broken out of it.

▪ abscond formal to escape from a prison or institution where you are supposed to stay:

Three prisoners who absconded have still not been found.


He absconded from a psychiatric hospital.

II. escape 2 S3 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ escape , ↑ escapism , ↑ escapee , ↑ escapologist ; adjective : ↑ escaped , ↑ inescapable , ↑ escapist ; verb : ↑ escape ; adverb : ↑ inescapably ]

1 . [uncountable and countable] the act of getting away from a place, or a dangerous or bad situation:

The girl had no chance of escape.

Christina hoped it wouldn’t be too long before she could make her escape.

escape from

the firm’s narrow escape from bankruptcy

an escape route

They had a lucky escape (=were lucky not to be hurt or killed) when a car crashed into the front of their house.

2 . [singular, uncountable] a way of forgetting about a bad or boring situation for a short time

escape from

Travel can be an escape from the routine drudgery of life.

3 . [uncountable and countable] an amount of gas, liquid etc that accidentally comes out of the place where it is being kept, or an occasion when this happens:

The lid prevents the escape of poisonous gases.

⇨ ↑ fire escape

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ plan an escape

We planned our escape carefully and waited for just the right moment.

▪ prevent an escape ( also foil an escape formal ) (=stop an escape)

Walker grabbed her firmly by the wrist, preventing any chance of escape.

▪ make your escape formal (=to escape)

I had to make my escape before the guards returned.

■ escape + NOUN

▪ an escape attempt/bid

She made several unsuccessful escape attempts before finally getting away.

▪ an escape plan

You should have an escape plan in the event of a fire.

▪ an escape route

All their escape routes had been blocked.

■ phrases

▪ have a narrow escape (=to only just avoid danger or difficulties)

The team had a narrow escape from relegation last season.

▪ have a lucky escape

We had a lucky escape when a tree crashed through the ceiling.

▪ have a miraculous escape (=be extremely lucky to escape)

Ellie had miraculous escape after a firework exploded in her hand.

▪ a means of escape (=a way of escaping)

She searched in vain for a means of escape.

▪ a chance/hope/possibility of escape

The river offered our only hope of escape.

▪ make good your escape literary (=to succeed in escaping)

Dillinger handcuffed the deputy to the desk and made good his escape.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ phrases

▪ a means of escape (=a way of forgetting about a bad situation)

Drugs and alcohol are their only means of escape.

▪ sb’s escape route from something (=someone’s only chance of getting away from a bad situation)

Bankruptcy offered his only escape route from mounting debt.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.