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

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 The exodus began about 30 seconds after the baseball left Yasmani Grandal’s bat. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "Max Muncy's home runs, ninth-inning rally help Dodgers sweep Rockies in slugfest," 4 June 2018 The weekend exodus for Memorial Day has begun, and the weather is going to be a bit fickle over the next several days. Dave Epstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Your Memorial Day weekend forecast: warm Friday and Saturday, then cooler," 24 May 2018 Even the common conservative narrative of middle-class exodus from California no longer tells the full story. Ronald Brownstein, CNN, "How California became the blue state alternative to Trump," 15 May 2018 The steady exodus from Bukhara began in the early 1970s, when the Soviet Union relaxed a ban on Jewish emigration. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "In Bukhara, 10,000 Jewish Graves but Just 150 Jews," 7 Apr. 2018 Moreau fears an acceleration of the rural exodus — to the point where the system of villages and towns serving herders is no longer sustainable. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "Mongolia’s nomadic way of life threatened by climate change, neglect, modernity," 8 July 2018 California has an exodus of companies and people moving to states including Arizona, partly due to the affordable housing. Catherine Reagor, azcentral, "Metro Phoenix renters must earn almost $20 an hour to afford an apartment," 1 July 2018 But people there also say much of the exodus across the U.S. border has to do with violence. Omar Villafranca, CBS News, "Treacherous journey to U.S. a last resort for some fleeing violence in El Salvador," 20 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

14 Oct 2018

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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).


one that holds something together

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