c. 1300, transitive and intransitive, "free oneself from confinement; extricate oneself from trouble; get away safely by flight (from battle, an enemy, etc.)," from Old North French escaper, Old French eschaper (12c., Modern French échapper), from Vulgar Latin *excappare, literally "get out of one's cape, leave a pursuer with just one's cape," from Latin ex- "out of" (see ex-) + Late Latin cappa "mantle" (see cap (n.)). Mid-14c., of things, "get or keep out of a person's grasp, elude (notice, perception, attention, etc.);" late 14c. as "avoid experiencing or suffering (something), avoid physical contact with; avoid (a consequence)." Formerly sometimes partly Englished as outscape (c. 1500). Related: Escaped; escaping.
c. 1400, "an act of escaping, action of escaping," also "a possibility of escape," from escape (v.) or from Old French eschap; earlier eschap (c. 1300). Mental/emotional sense is from 1853. From 1810 as "a means of escape." The contractual escape clause recorded by 1939.
1650s, "an escape from confinement," from French escapade (16c.) "a prank or trick," from Spanish escapada "a prank, flight, an escape," noun use of fem. past participle of escapar "to escape," from Vulgar Latin *excappare (see escape (v.)). Or perhaps the French word is via Italian scappata, from scappare, from the same Vulgar Latin source. Figurative sense (1814) implies a "breaking loose" from rules or restraints on behavior.
early 13c., scapen, "to escape (siege, battle, etc.), depart from (confinement, etc.)," a shortened form of escape; frequent in prose up to late 17c. By late 14c. in the general sense "avoid death, peril, punishment, or other danger." Related: Scaped (sometimes 15c.-16c. with strong past tense scope); scaping. As a noun from c. 1300, "an escape."