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es·cape (ĭ-skāp)
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v. es·caped, es·cap·ing, es·capes
v.intr.
1. To break loose from confinement; get free: escape from jail.
2. To issue from confinement or enclosure; leak or seep out: Gas was escaping from the vent.
3. To avoid a serious or unwanted outcome: escaped from the accident with their lives.
4. Biology To become established in the wild. Used of a plant or animal.
5. Computers To interrupt a command, exit a program, or change levels within a program by using a key, combination of keys, or key sequence.
v.tr.
1. To succeed in avoiding: The thief escaped punishment.
2. To break loose from; get free of: The spacecraft escaped Earth's gravitational field.
3. To be outside the memory or understanding of; fail to be remembered or understood by: Her name escapes me. The book's significance escaped him.
4. To issue involuntarily from: A sigh escaped my lips.
n.
1. The act or an instance of escaping.
2. A means of escaping.
3. A means of obtaining temporary freedom from worry, care, or unpleasantness: Television is my escape from worry.
4. A gradual effusion from an enclosure; a leakage.
5. Biology A cultivated plant or a domesticated or confined animal that has become established in the wild.
6. Computers A key used especially to interrupt a command, exit a program, or change levels within a program.

[Middle English escapen, from Old North French escaper, from Vulgar Latin *excappāre, to get out of one's cape, get away : Latin ex-, ex- + Medieval Latin cappa, cloak.]

es·capa·ble adj.
es·caper n.

Usage Note: The pronunciation (ĭk-skāp) is often viewed by many as incorrect and is probably a result of confusion with words beginning with the prefix ex-. The word is properly pronounced without the (k) sound between the short i and the (sk) sound: (ĭ-skāp).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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