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Alternative forms[edit]


From Anglo-Norman aloper (to abduct, run away), from a Germanic source, either Middle Dutch ontlopen (to run away) or a predecessor thereof. Equivalent to and- +‎ lope as well as and- +‎ leap (these being doublets). Cognate with German entlaufen (to escape), Danish undløbe (to run away). More at lope.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɪˈləʊp/, /ɛˈləʊp/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɨˈloʊp/, /ɛˈloʊp/
  • Rhymes: -əʊp


elope (third-person singular simple present elopes, present participle eloping, simple past and past participle eloped)

  1. (intransitive, of a married person) To run away from home with a paramour.
  2. (intransitive, of an unmarried person) To run away secretly for the purpose of getting married with one's intended spouse; to marry in a quick or private fashion, especially without a public period of engagement.
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice:
      My younger sister has left all her friends-- has eloped; has thrown herself into the power of-- of Mr. Wickham.
    • 1996, "Introduction", in The Piozzi Letters: Correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821 (formerly Mrs. Thrale), Volume 4, 1805-1810 (eds. Edward A. Bloom & Lillian D. Bloom), Associated University Presses (1996), →ISBN, page 30:
      Although Cecilia was the youngest of the surviving Thrale daughters, she had been the first to marry, eloping to Gretna Green in 1795 with John Meredith Mostyn of neighboring Llewesog Lodge. Both were underage.
    • 2009, Jan Springer, Intimate Stranger, Ellora's Cave (2009), →ISBN, page 132:
      Although they had eloped in Vegas, she'd insisted he wear a tuxedo and she buy a wedding dress at one of the local stores.
    • 2012, Shirley Jump, One Day to Find a Husband, Harlequin (2012), →ISBN, page 136:
      They knew each other for maybe a month before they eloped in Vegas.
  3. (intransitive, dated) To run away from home (for any reason).
    • 1782, Frances Burney, Cecilia:
      He had been intended by his father for trade, but his spirit, soaring above the occupation for which he was designed, from repining led him to resist, and from resisting, to rebel. He eloped from his friends, and contrived to enter the army.
    • c. 1794, Jane Austen, “[Lady Susan.] XVI. Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson.”, in J[ames] E[dward] Austen[-]Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen:  [] to which is Added Lady Susan and Fragments of Two Other Unfinished Tales by Miss Austen, 2nd edition, London: Richard Bentley and Son, [], published 1871, OCLC 45579380, pages 234–235:
      That horrid girl of mine has been trying to run away. I had not a notion of her being such a little devil before, she seemed to have all the Vernon milkiness; but on receiving the letter in which I declared my intention about Sir James, she actually attempted to elope; at least, I cannot otherwise account for her doing it. She meant, I suppose, to go to the Clarks in Staffordshire, for she has no other acquaintances.
    • 1931, Dorothy L. Sayers, The Five Red Herrings
      If we'd been a bit quicker, we could have caught Gowan before he eloped

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