re·​foule·​ment | \ rə-ˌfül-ˈmän How to pronounce refoulement (audio) \

Definition of refoulement

: the act of forcing a refugee or asylum seeker to return to a country or territory where he or she is likely to face persecution Since 1980, United States law has defined refugees as people with a "well-founded fear of persecutions" in their home country and thus entitled to sanctuary or political asylum. To send them home would risk committing the diplomatic sin of refoulement—forcibly subjecting them to peril.The New York Times — see also non-refoulement

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of refoulement in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Legal experts argue that these actions violate international laws against refoulement, or the return of migrants to unsafe places. Ian Urbina, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2021 The forcible return of the migrants, a practice known as refoulement, has also put many of them in lethal danger on land, because of Libya’s civil war. New York Times, 20 Mar. 2020 Escontrias, her lawyer, said Ricci was referred to a third non-refoulement interview during her hearing, which CBS News was barred from observing. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 13 Aug. 2019

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

Keep scrolling for more

First Known Use of refoulement

1954, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for refoulement

borrowed from French, literally, "turning away, rejection," going back to Middle French, from refouler "to force back, push in" (from re- re- + fouler "to crush, full (fabric)," going back to Old French) + -ment -ment — more at full entry 5

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About refoulement

Time Traveler for refoulement

Time Traveler

The first known use of refoulement was in 1954

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near refoulement




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for refoulement

Cite this Entry

“Refoulement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!