ex·​o·​dus | \ ˈek-sə-dəs How to pronounce exodus (audio) , ˈeg-zə- How to pronounce exodus (audio) \

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

Between 1945 and 1951, an exodus from the mainland sent Hong Kong’s population rocketing from 600,000 to 2.1 million. Los Angeles Times, "As China pushes in, Hong Kong’s first ethnic minority social worker wants a future for everyone," 23 Aug. 2019 The threat the authorities now have to contend with is the exodus from Syria. The Economist, "How Turkey deals with returning Islamic State fighters," 15 Aug. 2019 Should this season go as planned, a mass exodus of juniors to the NFL could decimate the Alabama offense. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Why Alabama’s 2020 schedule looks different from others," 7 Aug. 2019 The mass exodus was triggered under a provision of the First Step Act, signed into law in December, that increased the number of days prisoners can have shaved off their sentences for good behavior. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Federal government releases more than 2,200 people from prison as First Step Act kicks in," 19 July 2019 Chicago police worked to open roads and break down barricades to make easier the mass exodus from the parade route. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas, chicagotribune.com, "Rain-soaked Pride crowds, new mayor revel in historic parade: ‘Our battles are not over, but today feels particularly sweet’," 30 June 2019 That’s quite a feat considering the mass exodus of baby boomers the last few years. Tj Gibson, azcentral, "How does a college help to prepare a workforce? First, they listen.," 28 June 2019 The mass exodus has created social tensions in neighboring countries, including Colombia, which is hosting more than a third of the migrants. Peter Millard, Bloomberg.com, "A Timeline of Venezuela’s Economic Rise and Fall," 16 Feb. 2019 This was the first year that the health care law’s markets didn’t see a mass exodus of insurers. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Obamacare sign-ups surge in final tally," 21 Dec. 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

2 Sep 2019

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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 How to pronounce exodus (audio) \

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 from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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