Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To run away with a lover, especially with the intention of getting married.
  • intransitive v. To run away; abscond.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To run away from home with a paramour.
  • v. 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.
  • v. (dated) To run away from home (for any reason).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To run away, or escape privately, from the place or station to which one is bound by duty; -- said especially of a woman or a man, either married or unmarried, who runs away with a paramour or a sweetheart.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To run away; escape; break loose from legal or natural ties; specifically, to run away with a lover or paramour in defiance of duty or social restraints.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. run away secretly with one's beloved

Etymologies

Perhaps Anglo-Norman aloper, to run away from one's husband with a lover, from Middle Dutch ontlopen, to run away : ont-, away from, along; see ant- in Indo-European roots + lopen, to run.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle Dutch ontlopen ("to run away, evade"), from ont- (“away from”) +‎ lopen (“to run”). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The old-fashioned meaning of the word elope was used to describe a married woman who ran away with her lover.

    Products & Shopping

  • As revealed by this How Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt's Marriage Has Ruined My Life The Hills dashed off to Mexico to "elope" (luckily Us Weekly happened to be vacationing on the same beach and had their cameras with them).

    Gawker

  • I just find it sweet and silly how children so young could think that they could escape to a foreign country and 'elope' together.

    Charcoal Ink

  • Fed up with the near-Arctic temperatures at home, a seven-year-old German girl and her six-year-old boyfriend hatched a plan to "elope" to Africa and get married in the sun.

    Clipmarks | Live Clips

  • That was when she planned to "elope" with Thapa and the two decided to come to Goa, the cook reportedly told cops.

    The Times of India

  • This is not Sarah's parents they are lying to this time, and they probably don't get the chance to "elope" to Washington DC either by the looks of the polls.

    WordPress.com News

  • Alex is like many of the other kids ravaged by the autism epidemic: He speaks a few words, but rarely constructs sentences; he flaps his hands and has a tendency to "elope" (the technical term for scurrying away when mom has turns her back for half a second, resulting in a all-points-bulletins, posse formations and devastating damage to the parental central nervous system and cardio-vascular network that is indescribable to all of you lucky enough not to be in our "club").

    James Mulvaney: Surfing with Autism

  • kindbegger's diary kindbegger's Diaryland Diary and by 'do it' i mean 'elope'. we would watch a lot of felicity and i would sit on santa's lap.

    and by 'do it' i mean 'elope'. we would watch a lot of felicity and i would sit on santa's lap.

  • There is a company in Japan whose business is helping people disappear to elope or to escape moneylenders or abusive situations.

    Poof

  • After my father presented Bubbe Fanny with the choice between giving up living with the man she loved or seeing her own grandchildren, she chose to elope to Wendover, Nevada, with Roy and become Mrs. Fanny Charbenau.

    Roseanne Archy

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