AskDefine | Define escape

Dictionary Definition



1 the act of escaping physically; "he made his escape from the mental hospital"; "the canary escaped from its cage"; "his flight was an indication of his guilt" [syn: flight]
2 an inclination to retreat from unpleasant realities through diversion or fantasy; "romantic novels were her escape from the stress of daily life"; "his alcohol problem was a form of escapism" [syn: escapism]
3 the unwanted discharge of a fluid from some container; "they tried to stop the escape of gas from the damaged pipe"; "he had to clean up the leak" [syn: leak, leakage, outflow]
4 a valve in a container in which pressure can build up (as a steam boiler); it opens automatically when the pressure reaches a dangerous level [syn: safety valve, relief valve, escape valve, escape cock]
5 nonperformance of something distasteful (as by deceit or trickery) that you are supposed to do; "his evasion of his clear duty was reprehensible"; "that escape from the consequences is possible but unattractive" [syn: evasion, dodging]
6 an avoidance of danger or difficulty; "that was a narrow escape"
7 a means or way of escaping; "hard work was his escape from worry"; "they installed a second hatch as an escape"; "their escape route"
8 a plant originally cultivated but now growing wild


1 run away from confinement; "The convicted murderer escaped from a high security prison" [syn: get away, break loose]
2 fail to experience; "Fortunately, I missed the hurricane" [syn: miss]
3 escape potentially unpleasant consequences; get away with a forbidden action; "She gets away with murder!"; "I couldn't get out from under these responsibilities" [syn: get off, get away, get by, get out]
4 be incomprehensible to; escape understanding by; "What you are seeing in him eludes me" [syn: elude]
5 issue or leak, as from a small opening; "Gas escaped into the bedroom"
6 remove oneself from a familiar environment, usually for pleasure or diversion; "We escaped to our summer house for a few days"; "The president of the company never manages to get away during the summer" [syn: get away]
7 flee; take to one's heels; cut and run; "If you see this man, run!"; "The burglars escaped before the police showed up" [syn: run, scarper, turn tail, lam, run away, hightail it, bunk, head for the hills, take to the woods, fly the coop, break away]

User Contributed Dictionary



Anglo-Norman and Old Northern French escaper ( = Old French eschaper, modern échapper), from *excapare, from Latin ex- + cappa ‘cloak’.




  1. To get free, to free oneself.
    The prisoners escaped by jumping over a wall.
  2. To avoid (any unpleasant person or thing); to elude, get away from.
    He only got a fine and so escaped going to jail.
    The children climbed out of the window to escape the fire.
  3. To avoid capture; to get away with something, avoid punishment.
    Luckily, I escaped with only a fine.
  4. To elude observation or notice; to not be seen or remembered by.
    The name of the hotel escapes me at present.
  5. To prefix a character with a special character (depending on context) to allow a character to pass through without special meaning.
    When using the "bash" shell, you can escape the ampersand character with a backslash.
    In your monobook.js file, you can escape the apostrophe character with a backslash.
    Brion escaped the double quote character on Windows by adding a second double quote within the literal.
  6. to halt a program or command by pressing a key (such as the Esc key) or combination of keys

Usage notes

to get free
to elude
to avoid capture
to elude observation
to prefix a special key in order to make it an ordinary key
to halt a program by pressing a combination of keys
Translations to be checked


  1. The act of leaving a dangerous or unpleasant situation.
    The prisoners made their escape by digging a tunnel
  2. A key on most modern computer keyboards, sometimes abbreviated Esc, and typically programmed to cancel some current operation.
  3. The ASCII character represented by 27 (decimal) or 1B (hexadecimal.)
    You forgot to insert an escape in the datastream.
  4. In the context of "snooker": A sucessful shot from a snooker position.


The act of leaving a dangerous or unpleasant situation
A key on most modern computer keyboards
(programming) ASCII character 27 (decimal) or 1B (hexadecimal)
Translations to be checked
translations to be checked


Extensive Definition

Escape may refer to:
  • Escape (hold), a maneuver used to exit a wrestling or grappling hold
  • Escapism, mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation
  • Escapology, the study and practice of escaping from physical restraints
  • Prison escape, the act of breaking out of prison
In literature:
In radio, film and television:
In computers:
  • Escape key, the Esc key on a computer keyboard
  • Escape sequence, a series of characters used to trigger some sort of command state in computers
  • Escape character, a single character which in a sequence of characters signifies that what is to follow takes an alternative interpretation
  • escape(), a JavaScript function to percent-encode a string (though encodeURIComponent() and encodeURI() are preferable)
In music:
escape in German: Flucht (Begriffsklärung)
escape in French: Escape
escape in Japanese: エスケープ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abandonment, abscond, alienation, autism, autistic thinking, avenue, avoid, avoidance, avoidance mechanism, avoiding reaction, baffle, bail out, beg, blame-shifting, blow, blowhole, bolt, bow out, break, break away, break free, break jail, break loose, break out, breakout, bunk, channel, chute, circumvent, circumvention, clear out, compensation, cut and run, cut loose, cut out, debouch, decamp, decampment, decompensation, defense mechanism, deliverance, depart, departure, dereism, dereistic thinking, disappear, discharge, displacement, dissociation, distraction, ditch, diversion, dodge, dodging, door, double, drain, drainage, draining, duck, duck out, ducking, effluence, efflux, effluxion, egress, elope, elude, elusion, elusiveness, emanate, emotional insulation, emunctory, equivocation, escape into fantasy, escape mechanism, escape prison, escapism, eschewal, estuary, evacuation, evade, evasion, evasive action, evasiveness, exhaust, exit, exodus, fantasizing, fantasy, flee, flight, flit, floodgate, flume, fly, fly the coop, forbearance, forestalling, forestallment, get around, get away, get away from, get clear of, get free, get free of, get out, get out of, get quit of, get rid of, getaway, getting around, go on furlough, go on leave, going, hegira, isolation, issue, jailbreak, jink, jump, lam, leak, leakage, leaking, leave the scene, leaving, levant, liberation, loophole, make a getaway, make off, mosey, mystify, negativism, neutrality, nonintervention, noninvolvement, opening, out, outcome, outfall, outflow, outgate, outgo, outlet, outpouring, overcompensation, parting, passing, pore, port, prevention, projection, psychotaxis, puzzle, rationalization, recreation, refraining, release, relief, removal, resistance, retirement, retreat, run away, run off, runaround, sally port, scape, scram, seep, seepage, seeping, shake, shake off, shuffle out of, shunning, shunting off, shy, sidestep, sidestepping, sidetracking, skedaddle, skip, skirt, slip, slip away, slip off, slip out, slip the collar, sluice, sneak out, sociological adjustive reactions, spiracle, spout, stump, sublimation, substitution, take French leave, take leave, take off, tap, the runaround, throw off, vamoose, vanish, vent, ventage, venthole, vomitory, walkout, way out, weir, wish-fulfillment fantasy, wishful thinking, withdrawal, zigzag
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