Try Our Apps


What is the origin of "February"?


[ref-yoo-jee, ref-yoo-jee] /ˌrɛf yʊˈdʒi, ˈrɛf yʊˌdʒi/
a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc.
Origin of refugee
1675-85; < French réfugié, past participle of réfugier to take refuge. See refuge, -ee
Related forms
refugeeism, noun
prorefugee, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for refugee
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Eagle was French, and professed to be a refugee, a person of interest to foreign monarchs.

    Quaker Hill Warren H. Wilson
  • An exile in London—“a refugee,” as it is termed—he scarce knew what to do.

    The Plant Hunters Mayne Reid
  • He wound up by warning her that Greta was in London, disguised as a Belgian refugee.

    The Messenger Elizabeth Robins
  • "Nothing at all—a refugee is not supposed to have belongings," replied his wife.

  • Danby was impeached, and Shaftesbury, his rival, died a refugee in Holland.

British Dictionary definitions for refugee


  1. a person who has fled from some danger or problem, esp political persecution: refugees from Rwanda
  2. (as modifier): a refugee camp, a refugee problem
Derived Forms
refugeeism, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for refugee

1680s, from French refugié, noun use of past participle of refugier "to take shelter, protect," from Old French refuge (see refuge). First applied to French 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). In Australian slang from World War II, reffo.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for refugee

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for refugee

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for refugee