Middle English, from Anglo-French escaper, eschaper, from Vulgar Latin *excappare, from Latin ex- + Late Latin cappa head covering, cloak For the sense, Diez compares Gr. εκδυεσθαι to put off one's clothes, to escape
The earliest forms recorded in Eng. appear to be ASCAPE (after the ONF. variant ascaper) and the aphetic SCAPE, which occur in 13th c.; the former survived until 16th c.; the latter continued in ordinary use until 17th c., and as a poetic archaism (often written 'scape) is still employed. In 14th c. the forms of Central Fr. origin, eschape, ASCHAPE, ACHAPE, aphetically SCHAPE, CHAPE, are of frequent occurrence, esp. in northern writers, while in southern use the forms from Northern Fr., escape, ASCAPE, SCAPE, were more common. After 15th c. the former type is found only in Sc. writers, finally disappearing in 17th c. The forms ATSCAPE, OFSCAPE, occasional in 13-14th c., appear to be due to a confusion of the initial a- in ascape with the prepositional prefix in synonymous Eng. vbs.
- Date: 13th century
- 1 a : to get away (as by flight) <escaped from prison>
2 : to avoid a threatening evil <the boat sank but the crew escaped>
Escapology is the practice of escaping from restraints or other traps. Escapologists (also called escape artists) escape from handcuffs, straitjackets, cages, coffins, steel boxes, barrels, bags, burning buildings, fish-tanks and other perils, often in combination.
Some escapologists' tricks are accomplished by illusionists' techniques; others are genuine acts of flexibility, strength and daring.