Definition of escape in English:


Line breaks: es¦cape
Pronunciation: /ɪˈskeɪp
, ɛ-/


  • 2 [with object] Fail to be noticed or remembered by (someone): the name escaped him it may have escaped your notice, but this is not a hotel
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    • I was just about to throttle them both but then I noticed something that had escaped me before.
    • If the author has given his name, it has escaped my notice.
    • But the official-sounding name has not escaped the notice of those keeping a close watch on such titles.
  • 3 [with object] Computing Interrupt (an operation) by means of the escape key.
    More example sentences
    • Once installed, traditional Linux / UNIX escaping, quoting or tabbing is necessary to get to directories with spaces in their names.
    • When conducting a tag search in Movable Type, the application is not properly escaping the optional IncludeBlogs query string parameter.
  • 3.1Cause (a subsequent character or characters) to be interpreted differently.
    More example sentences
    • This issue is addressed by properly escaping resolved DNS names.
    • Writing data to the database is more interesting because of the need to escape the data.
    • We're catering to a "need" to escape Web pages that our poor, humorless writing instilled in our audience in the first place.


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  • 1An act of breaking free from confinement or control: the gang had made their escape [mass noun]: he could think of no way of escape, short of rudeness
    More example sentences
    • Finally, any kind of attempt at escape will mean solitary confinement for 30 days.
    • It tells the story of a 1946 escape attempt from that most infamous of prisons, Alcatraz.
    • The plucky farmer is understood to have startled the thief who eventually broke free and made his escape to a waiting car.
    getaway, breakout, bolt for freedom, running away, flight, bolting, absconding, decamping, fleeing, flit; disappearance, vanishing act
    informal , • dated springing
  • 1.1An act of avoiding something dangerous or unpleasant: the baby was fine, but it was a lucky escape
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    • We opted for the bottled water and thanked our lucky stars for our narrow escape.
    • A Cranmore woman had a narrow escape when a bullet smashed through the front window of her car during last weekend's shooting.
    • An Ambleside man had a narrow escape after stumbling and sinking up to his armpits in a bog while walking on the Lake District fells, reports Paul Duncan.
    avoidance of, evasion of, dodging of, eluding of, circumvention of
    informal ducking of
    rare elusion of
  • 1.2A means of escaping from somewhere: [as modifier]: he had planned his escape route
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    • I had an escape route planned out of town, and since I'd be driving my scooter I wouldn't have to worry about traffic.
    • Plan an escape route in case you are washed into the sea.
    • When rich nations lock poorer countries out of their markets in this way, they close the door to an escape route from poverty.
  • 1.3A garden plant or pet animal that has gone wild and (especially in plants) become naturalized: it is not a native of Britain, though often occurring as an escape
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    • This tropical China native is a rare escape from cultivation.
    • It is most likely that the two trees are escapes or remnants from cultivation.
    • And Vaccinium macrocarpon (the cranberry) is now a casual escape on the Pacific coast.
  • 2A form of temporary distraction from reality or routine: romantic novels should present an escape from the dreary realities of life
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    • The effects provide a temporary escape from reality by relieving fears, tension and anxiety.
    • The very nature of popular film is to provide an escape from daily reality and monotonous routines.
    • Online many people express fantasies or adopt identities precisely because they are an escape from reality.
  • 4 (also escape key) Computing A key on a computer keyboard which either interrupts the current operation or causes subsequent characters to be interpreted differently.
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    • His first thought, when something went wrong, was to immediately hit the escape key - even when he was nowhere near a computer.
    • Fortunately you can skip them by hitting the escape key.
    • It is possible to save the game at any stage in the play via the escape key.


escape the clutches (or grip) of

Break free from the control or grasp of: thank heavens she’d escaped his clutches in time
More example sentences
  • A man held hostage in a bedsit for more than 10 days was free last night after escaping the clutches of a gunman.
  • Two sisters who escaped the clutches of the Nazis in wartime Czechoslovakia and then Hungary were living 85 miles apart in northern Israel, each not knowing that the other had survived.
  • A quick-witted charity worker escaped the clutches of telephone tricksters following a warning from his residents' association.

make good one's escape

Succeed in breaking free from confinement: by the time they had given chase, she had made good her escape
More example sentences
  • He then set fire to the flat in an attempt to cover up what he had done, before making good his escape.
  • It is believed the men used another car to make good their escape and police are particularly keen to trace a maroon Vauxhall Astra seen earlier in the day in the pub car park.
  • An alarm sounded but the gang knew they had 15 minutes to make good their escape into the country roads by the village of Thornhill.



More example sentences
  • For the rest of us, it's been an unbearable nightmare escapable only through alcohol and movies.
  • Heroes must be put into an easily escapable death situation.
  • The book sensitively depicts internal conflict that silences abuse victims, and shows readers the situation is escapable once the truth is revealed.


More example sentences
  • One of the country's most notorious prison escapers broke out of a top-security wing at the prison - and no-one noticed.
  • It comes as something of a surprise to learn that many of the most dedicated Allied escapers respected their resourceful Luftwaffe antagonists.
  • Survival on a southern chain gang is the main theme of this book in which a prolific escaper pits himself against authority in a constant test of wills.


Middle English: from Old French eschaper, based on medieval Latin ex- 'out' + cappa 'cloak'. Compare with escapade.

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Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little