ex·​o·​dus ˈek-sə-dəs How to pronounce exodus (audio) ˈeg-zə- How to pronounce exodus (audio)
capitalized : the mainly narrative second book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scripture see Bible Table
: a mass departure : emigration

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Don't Leave Without the History of Exodos

The Biblical book of Exodus describes the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, so it's no surprise that the word has come to refer more generally to any mass departure. The word itself was adopted into English (via Latin) from Greek Exodos, which literally means "the road out." The Greek word was formed by combining the prefix ex- (meaning "out of") and hodos, "road" or "way." Other descendants of the prolific hodos in English include episode, method, odometer, and period. There are also several scientific words that can be traced back to hodos. Anode, and cathode can refer, respectively, to the positive and negative electrodes of a diode, and hodoscope refers to an instrument for tracing the paths of ionizing particles.

Examples of exodus in a Sentence

the mass exodus from the cities for the beaches and the mountains on most summer weekends
Recent Examples on the Web The transformation of the financial district grew out of two setbacks — the exodus of banks and insurance companies from Lower Manhattan to Midtown, and the Sept. 11 attack — that have led to suited 9-to-5 workers being steadily replaced by parents pushing strollers. Matthew Haag, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 That estimate matches numbers given by the IDF for yesterday's exodus. NBC News, 10 Nov. 2023 Threats to election workers have become more frequent in recent years, prompting a troubling exodus from their ranks in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News, 9 Nov. 2023 Many of the Afghans who have joined this exodus were born in Pakistan or fled to the country decades ago as children. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2023 And the city is still recovering from a yearslong exodus of residents unhappy with political uncertainty and its former COVID controls. Lionel Lim, Fortune, 26 Oct. 2023 But for many of the more than 1.6 million people who the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says have already been displaced in Gaza since the conflict began, the route feels like a forced exodus. Raf Sanchez, NBC News, 15 Nov. 2023 The exodus of tech commuters hammered the city harder than most, leaving retailers bereft of customers, while scenes of homelessness, drug use and petty crime became more visible. Heather Knight, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023 Still, talking about Tumblr's future in August 2023 on an Evening Standard podcast, Mullenweg seemed optimistic about its reach into younger markets, its vibrant LGBTQ+ community, some vague backend AI possibilities, and how a Twitter exodus could feed Tumblr's regrowth. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exodus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, from Greek Exodos, literally, road out, from ex- + hodos road

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of exodus was before the 12th century


Dictionary Entries Near exodus

Cite this Entry

“Exodus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exodus. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​o·​dus ˈek-səd-əs How to pronounce exodus (audio)
capitalized : the mainly narrative second book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scripture see bible
: a mass departure

from Latin Exodus "a book of the Bible," derived from Greek exodos "a road or journey out," from ex- "out" and hodos "road"

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