In the olden times, a woman would need parental consent to get married, or worse, her groom would be chosen by her father. As a consequence of such element of culture, she would sometimes run away from home either to avoid an arranged or forced marriage or to marry a man her parents disapproved of. Is there a single word, a phrase or an idiom to define this action?

  • 1
    The best I can think of is runaway bride, based in part on the movie, but that doesn't have anything to do with forced/arranged marriages.
    – Nick2253
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 23:33
  • 3
    Running away to get married is eloping, but it's not specific to avoiding an arranged marriage.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


A woman might be said to abscond in such a situation (whether or not she went on to marry someone her parents disapproved of):



1 Leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection of or arrest for an unlawful action such as theft:

If she ran away to marry someone other than the person her parents wanted her to marry, she could be described as having eloped:



Run away secretly in order to get married, especially without parental consent

(Definitions from Oxforddictionaries.com)

  • 1
    "Spring beckons! / All things to the call respond / the trees are leaving / and cashiers abscond." — Ambrose Bierce (not relevant but I always liked it) Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 0:01
  • 1
    To my knowledge, the concept of arranged marriage does not exist in American culture, so no verb is needed for runnning away from one. An interesting but only remotely related antonym in AmE is "shotgun wedding" which is a marriage insisted on by the bride's parents because the groom has impregnated her. The term is not so commonly heard in this modern era of birth control, abortion, and unabashed single motherhood. Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 4:23
  • @BrianHitchcock - I must have missed that part of the OP's question which specifies an American context. :)
    – Erik Kowal
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 4:32
  • 1
    @Erik Kowal: as you know; he didn't. But unfortunately, American context is all I know, so I wouldn't want to pretend to speak for any other. Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 4:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.