2

What is the best word for, "to flee", as "in he fled" or "we should flee", or perhaps just "We should get out of here!". In the dictionary I find two verbs fuir and s'enfuir. What's the difference? (I realize that this may have been discussed before, but alas at a level beyond my comprehension, at least in French.

and because I am so happy with the excellent answers I receive here, I leave you with an amusing poem. If you are a teacher, your students may also enjoy it, as an example of the chaos of English. Thank you all!

A flea and a fly in a flu,
Were imprisoned, so what could they do.
Said the flea, 'Let us fly."
Said the fly, "Let us flee."
So they flew through a flaw in the flu.

  • 1
    They are very similar. I would say "fuir" is with your mind, and "s'enfuir" is with your legs, but kinda hard to say... – Random Jan 21 '16 at 12:11
  • fuir: transitif : vis à vis de quelque chose, un endroit, une personne, un état. En général avec COD (mais on peut aussi l'omettre). S'enfuir: pronominal, qui peuvent s'employer sans complément: déplacement physique. – guillaume girod-vitouchkina Jan 21 '16 at 12:31
  • it's a flue that they are caught in, no? – hunter Jan 23 '16 at 3:06
  • Yes, a flue. Sorry, I am a terrible speller, and english is a terrible language for anyone who has difficulty with spelling. – Irving Jan 24 '16 at 10:29
5

There is no "best word". Good translations depend on the context.

Possible ones for "he fled" might be:

Il s'est échappé (de sa cellule, de son enclos)

Il s'est évadé (de prison)

Il a fui (ses responsabilités, son pays, sa famille, à l'étranger,...)

Il s'est enfui (de chez lui, de son pays, à l'étranger,...)

Il a quitté (son pays/sa femme/...)

  • Pour « quitter », j'utiliserais « to leave ». Pour « échapper » et « évader », je préfèrerais « to escape ». D'accord avec la réponse nonobstant. – Chop Jan 21 '16 at 12:20
  • @Chop Je pensais à he fled his wife que je ne traduirais probablement pas par Il a fui sa femme mais par il a quitté sa femme. – jlliagre Jan 21 '16 at 12:34
  • Certes, mais on véhicule dans ce cas un peu plus que la simple dimension « administrative ». Il y a une notion de désertion, d'abandon à faire passer. « Abandonné » ? – Chop Jan 21 '16 at 13:01
4

They are quite similar in meaning with a difference of emphasis,

  • fuir put the emphasis on what is fled from (even if it is implied).

  • s'enfuir put the emphasis on the movement itself.

And to complete with the other verbs cited by @jlliagre:

  • s'échapper implies that there was a constraint.

  • s'évader implies a stronger constraint, probably legal, the most common usage is for convicts and prisonners.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.