asy·​lee ə-ˌsī-ˈlē How to pronounce asylee (audio)
plural asylees
: someone who is seeking asylum (see asylum sense 3b) or who has been granted asylum
Asylum status may be terminated for the same grounds or if there are changed circumstances in the asylee's country which eliminates the need for asylum.Federal Register Part V, 2 June 1980
White House aide Jack Watson, according to The Wall Street Journal, refers to Cubans seeking asylum in the United States as "asylees."William Safire, New York Times Magazine, 15 June 1980
… told me that one of the questions the authorities ask to determine whether or not someone qualifies for asylee status is "Are you afraid to return to your own country?"G. Willow Wilson, The Butterfly Mosque, 2010

Word History


asyl(um) + -ee entry 1

First Known Use

1950, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of asylee was in 1950

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Cite this Entry

“Asylee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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