What's the Difference Between RUN AWAY, FLEE and ESCAPE?
Let’s start with run away and flee.
Run away and flee are essentially the same thing and they can be used interchangeably in a situation in which you’re being chased or trying to distance yourself from someone or something dangerous.
Run away: leave or escape from a place, person, or situation.
Flee: run away from a place or situation of danger.
As you can see, these words essentially mean the same thing, and the word flee even has run away in its dictionary definition.
Escape is a little more specific to the act of getting free from a bad situation, confinement, or some type of trap.
Escape: break free from confinement or control.
You can also flee/run away from the same situations from which you would escape, but remember that the word escape implies the act of breaking free from constraint or confinement. The word escape doesn’t always involve running. However, flee and run away almost always do.
“She ran away from home when she was 9 years old.”
“Don’t run away from me!”
"The thief fled from the scene of the crime."
"The criminal is planning his escape from prison."
“The little girl was kidnapped but she managed to escape.”
So remember, run away and flee are essentially the same thing. The word ‘flee’ is just much more formal than the phrasal verb ‘run away.’ The idea of these words is basically to quickly distance yourself from someone or something dangerous.
The word ‘escape’ is a specific word that means to break free from confinement or restraint. We typically use this word in relation to prison, hostage situations, and kidnappings.