Fugitive

Fugitives are often profiled in the media in order to be apprehended, such as in the TV show America's Most Wanted.

A fugitive (or runaway) is a person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from private slavery, a government arrest, government or non-government questioning, vigilante violence, or outraged private individuals. A fugitive from justice, also known as a wanted person[1][not in citation given] (Interpol uses the terms fugitive and wanted person synonymously[2]), can either be a person convicted or accused of a crime, who is hiding from law enforcement in the state or taking refuge in a different country in order to avoid arrest in another country.[3]

Interpol is the international authority for the pursuit of trans-border fugitives. Europol is the European authority for the pursuit of fugitives who are on the run within Europe, and coordinates their search, while national authorities in the probable country of their stay coordinate their arrest. In the United States, the U.S. Marshals Service is the primary law enforcement agency that tracks down federal fugitives, though the Federal Bureau of Investigation also tracks fugitives.

As a verbal metaphor and psychological concept, one might also be described as a "fugitive from oneself". Finally, the literary sense of "fugitive" includes the meaning of simply "fleeing".

Contents

Terminology

"On the lam" or "on the run" often refers to fugitives. Mencken's The American Language and The Thesaurus of American Slang proclaim that lam, lamister, and "on the lam" — all referring to a hasty departure — were common in thieves' slang before the turn of the twentieth century. Mencken quotes a newspaper report on the origin of 'lam' which actually traces it indirectly back to Shakespeare's time.

Its origin should be obvious to anyone who runs over several colloquial phrases for leavetaking, such as 'beat it' and 'hit the trail'. The allusion in 'lam' is to 'beat,' and 'beat it' is Old English, meaning 'to leave.' During the period of George Ade's 'Fables in Slang' (1900), cabaret society delight in talking slang, and 'lam' was current. Like many other terms, it went under in the flood of new usages of those days, but was preserved in criminal slang. A quarter of a century later it reappeared.

Mencken also quotes a story from the New York Herald Tribune in 1938 which reported that "one of the oldest police officers in New York said that he had heard "on the lam" thirty years ago."

Methods of finding fugitives

Various methods can be used to find fugitives. Phone taps and pen registers can be used on relatives. Credit card and cell phone activities and electronic transfer of money can also be traced. Wanted posters and rewards can also be used.[4] Jail records are also sometimes used; for instance, after the U.S. Government determined that Timothy McVeigh had perpetrated the Oklahoma City Bombing, he was found in a local jail. Various countermeasures can be used by fugitives, as described in books such as The Paper Trip and Perpetual Traveler, to make it difficult for others to find them.

See also

US specific:

References

External links


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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fugitive — Fu gi*tive, a. [OE. fugitif, F. fugitif, fr. L. fugitivus, fr. fugere to flee. See {Bow} to bend, and cf. {Feverfew}.] 1. Fleeing from pursuit, danger, restraint, etc., escaping, from service, duty etc.; as, a fugitive solder; a fugitive slave; a …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fugitive — fu·gi·tive / fyü jə tiv/ n: a person who flees; esp: a person who flees one jurisdiction (as a state) for another in order to elude law enforcement personnel Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. fugitive …   Law dictionary

  • Fugitive — Fu gi*tive, n. 1. One who flees from pursuit, danger, restraint, service, duty, etc.; a deserter; as, a fugitive from justice. [1913 Webster] 2. Something hard to be caught or detained. [1913 Webster] Or Catch that airy fugitive called wit. Harte …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fugitive — late 14c. (adj. and noun), from O.Fr. fugitif, from L. fugitivus fleeing (but commonly used as a noun meaning runaway, fugitive slave, deserter ), from pp. stem of fugere run away, flee, from PIE root *bheug (1) to flee (Cf. Gk. pheugein to flee …   Etymology dictionary

  • fugitive — [adj] fleeing, transient avoiding, brief, criminal, elusive, ephemeral, errant, erratic, escaping, evading, evanescent, fleeting, flitting, flying*, fugacious, hot*, impermanent, lamster, momentary, moving, on the lam*, passing, planetary,… …   New thesaurus

  • fugitive — [fyo͞o′ji tiv] adj. [ME fugitif < OFr < L fugitivus < pp. of fugere, to flee < IE base * bheug , to flee > Gr phygē, flight] 1. fleeing, apt to flee, or having fled, as from danger, justice, etc. 2. a) passing quickly away;… …   English World dictionary

  • fugitive — adj evanescent, transitory, *transient, fleeting, passing, ephemeral, momentary, short lived …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • fugitive — ► NOUN ▪ a person who has escaped from captivity or is in hiding. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ quick to disappear; fleeting. ORIGIN Latin fugitivus, from fugere flee …   English terms dictionary

  • fugitive — fugitively, adv. fugitiveness, fugitivity, n. /fyooh ji tiv/, n. 1. a person who is fleeing, from prosecution, intolerable circumstances, etc.; a runaway: a fugitive from justice; a fugitive from a dictatorial regime. adj. 2. having taken flight …   Universalium

  • fugitive — n. 1) to track down a fugitive 2) a fugitive from (a fugitive from justice) * * * [ fjuːdʒɪtɪv] to track down a fugitive a fugitive from (a fugitive from justice) …   Combinatory dictionary

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