Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French escaper, eschaper, from Vulgar Latin *excappare, from Latin ex- + Late Latin cappa head covering, cloak
Date: 13th century
a. to get away (as by flight) <escaped from prison> b. to issue from confinement <gas is escaping> c. of a plant to run wild from cultivation 2. to avoid a threatening evil <the boat sank but the crew escaped> transitive verb 1. to get free of ; break away from <escape the jungle> <escape the solar system> 2. to get or stay out of the way of ; avoid <efforts to escape poverty> 3. to fail to be noticed or recallable by <his name escapes me> 4. a. to issue from <a smile escaped me> b. to be uttered involuntarily by <a sigh of relief escaped her> • escaper noun Synonyms: escape, avoid, evade, elude, shun, eschew mean to get away or keep away from something. escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent <nothing escapes her sharp eyes>. avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty <try to avoid past errors>. evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding <evaded the question by changing the subject>. elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes <what she sees in him eludes me>. shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence <you have shunned your responsibilities>. eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful <a playwright who eschews melodrama>. II. noun Date: 14th century 1. an act or instance of escaping: as a. flight from confinement b. evasion of something undesirable c. leakage or outflow especially of a fluid d. distraction or relief from routine or reality 2. a means of escape 3. a cultivated plant run wild III. adjective Date: 1817 1. providing a means of escape <escape literature> 2. providing a means of evading a regulation, claim, or commitment <an escape clause in a contract>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.