1540s (late 13c. as a surname), "one who flees or departs; a fugitive, deserter," from the verbal phrase run away "flee in the face of danger" (late 14c.); see run (v.) + away (adv.). From c. 1600 as "horse which bolts while being driven or ridden," later extended to railway trains, etc. The meaning "an act of running away" is from 1724.
As an adjective, "acting the part of a runaway, escaping from restraint or control," 1540s; in modern use especially of conditions, forces, reactions, etc., from 1925.
late 14c., "one who flees, a runaway, a fugitive from justice, an outlaw," from fugitive (adj.). Old French fugitif also was used as a noun meaning "fugitive person," and Latin fugitivus (adj.) commonly also was used as a noun meaning "a runaway, fugitive slave, deserter."
member of a native people, formerly of Florida, allied with the Creeks, 1763, Semiolilies (plural); 1774, Siminole, from Creek (Muskogean) simano:li, earlier simalo:ni "wild, untamed, runaway," from American Spanish cimarron (see maroon (v.)). They fought wars against U.S. troops 1817-18 and 1835-42, after which they largely were removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
verbs from bolt (n.) in its various senses (especially "a missile" and "a fastening"); from a crossbow arrow's quick flight comes the meaning "spring, make a quick start" (early 13c.). Via the notion of fleeing game or runaway horses, this came to mean "leave suddenly" (1610s). The meaning "gulp down food" is from 1794. The meaning "secure by means of a bolt" is from 1580s. Related: Bolted; bolting.
also grape-vine, 1736, from grape + vine. Meaning "a rumor; a secret or unconventional method of spreading information" (1863) is from the use of grapevine telegraph as "secret source of information and rumor" in the American Civil War; in reference to Southerners under northern occupation but also in reference to black communities and runaway slaves.
The false reports touching rebel movements, which incessantly circulated in Nashville, brings us to the consideration of the "grapevine telegraph"—a peculiar institution of rebel generation, devised for the duplex purpose of "firing the Southern heart," and to annoy the "Yankees." It is worthy of attention, as one of the signs of the times, expressing the spirit of lying which war engenders. But it is no more than just to say that there is often so little difference between the "grapevine" and the associated press telegraph, that they might as well be identical. ["Rosecrans' Campaign with the Fourteenth Corps," Cincinnati, 1863]