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.
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."