he·​gi·​ra hi-ˈjī-rə How to pronounce hegira (audio)
variants or less commonly hejira
: a journey especially when undertaken to escape from a dangerous or undesirable situation : exodus

Did you know?

In the year A.D. 622, the prophet Muhammad was forced to flee his native city, Mecca, to escape persecution from those who rejected his message. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, migrated with a number of his followers to Medina, where they were guaranteed protection by local clans. This event, which traditionally marks the beginning of the Islamic era, is known in Arabic as the Hijra-literally, "departure." That Arabic term passed into Medieval Latin (where it was modified to Hegira) and from there it eventually made its way into English. By the mid-18th century, English speakers were using hegira for other journeys, too-especially arduous ones.

Examples of hegira in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web So our favorite loudmouth abandoned his broadcast booth in Palm Beach and joined the great hegira and traffic jam, having realized that these days Florida is a great state to get far, far away from. Paul Greenberg, Alaska Dispatch News, 22 Sep. 2017

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

Word History


the Hegira, flight of Muhammad from Mecca in a.d. 622, from Medieval Latin, from Arabic hijra, literally, departure

First Known Use

1753, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hegira was in 1753


Dictionary Entries Near hegira

Cite this Entry

“Hegira.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hegira. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

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