To elope, most literally, means to run away and to not come back to the point of origin. More colloquially, elopement is often used to refer to a marriage conducted in sudden and secretive fashion, usually involving a hurried flight away from one's place of residence together with one's beloved with the intention of getting married.
Today the term "elopement" is colloquially used for any marriage performed in haste, with a limited public engagement period or without a public engagement period. Some couples elope because they wish to avoid objections from parents, or religious obligations. In addition, the term elopement is used in psychiatric hospitals to refer to a patient leaving the psychiatric unit without authorization.