ex·​o·​dus | \ˈek-sə-dəs, ˈeg-zə- \

Definition of exodus 

1 capitalized : the mainly narrative second book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scripture — see Bible Table

2 : a mass departure : emigration

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Synonyms & Antonyms for exodus


gush, outflow, outpour, outpouring


flux, inflow, influx, inrush

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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- and hodos, meaning "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

Her parents came to the U.S. in 1962 as part of the Pedro Pan exodus from Cuba. Yvonne Villarreal, latimes.com, "'One Day at a Time,' 'Vida' staffs team up to help fight family separation," 20 June 2018 The Only Weapon Jihad is set at a time when E.U. governments made few attempts to stop the jihadist exodus through Turkey. Time, "A Tale of Three Jihadists Puts the Fight Against Extremism Onstage," 14 June 2018 Between 2008 and 2010, Monroe Harbor saw an exodus. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, "Where have the boats gone from Monroe Harbor, rest of Chicago lakefront?," 5 July 2018 Her departure comes after serving more than two and a half decades in Foggy Bottom, which has experienced an exodus of high-profile career diplomats during the Trump administration. Rachel Van Dongen, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: One Republican senator has the power to defeat Trump's Supreme Court nominee," 2 July 2018 If Bevo flops in football and basketball, don't assume an exodus of TCU's best coaches to Austin is a given, but don't rule it out. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Del Conte changing Texas, and not coming after TCU ... yet | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 9 May 2018 And the overwhelming economic crisis that has rocked the island for the past 11 years has led to austerity measures, which have affected education budgets and accelerated an exodus of families moving their children to the mainland US. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Puerto Rico, the public pushes for more say in school reform," 17 Apr. 2018 All these technical, political, and financial problems combined to leave GKNPTs Khrunichev deeply in debt and triggered the exodus of customers last year—as many as five deals were reportedly lost in the second half of 2017. Anatoly Zak, Ars Technica, "Russia’s Proton rocket falls on hard times," 26 Jan. 2018 Since the exodus from Myanmar began in August, the refugees have lived in shelters cut haphazardly into hillsides — a necessary solution that was supposed to be temporary as tens of thousands arrived each day. Vidhi Doshi, Washington Post, "‘Everything was destroyed’: Monsoon begins to take deadly toll on Rohingya camps in Bangladesh," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exodus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exodus

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

History and Etymology for exodus

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

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Statistics for exodus

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exodus

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

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More Definitions for exodus



English Language Learners Definition of exodus

: a situation in which many people leave a place at the same time


ex·​o·​dus | \ˈek-sə-dəs \

Kids Definition of exodus

: the departure of a large number of people at the same time

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Comments on exodus

What made you want to look up exodus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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