1685, from Fr. refugié, prop. pp. of refugier "to take shelter, protect," from O.Fr. refuge (see refuge). First applied to Fr. Huguenots who migrated after the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes. The word meant "one seeking asylum," till 1914, when it evolved
to mean "one fleeing home" (first applied in this sense to civilians in Flanders heading west to escape fighting in World War I).