ref·​uge | \ ˈre-(ˌ)fyüj How to pronounce refuge (audio) also -(ˌ)fyüzh \

Definition of refuge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : shelter or protection from danger or distress
2 : a place that provides shelter or protection
3 : something to which one has recourse in difficulty


refuged; refuging

Definition of refuge (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to give refuge to

intransitive verb

: to seek or take refuge

Synonyms for refuge

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Finding Refuge

The re- in refuge means basically "back" or "backward" rather than "again;" thus, a refugee is someone who is "fleeing backward". Refuge tends to appear with certain other words: you generally "seek refuge", "take refuge", or "find refuge". Religion may be a refuge from the woes of your life; a beautiful park may be a refuge from the noise of the city; and your bedroom may be a refuge from the madness of your family.

Examples of refuge in a Sentence

Noun hunting is strictly forbidden in the wildlife refuge Verb a nation with a long, honorable history of refuging political asylum seekers
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Several streets away, Tymofiy’s aunt, Olena Strilets, and her partner, Serhiy Provornov, had also sought refuge in their cellar. Isabel Coles, WSJ, 13 May 2022 The price of bitcoin, ether and other popular cryptocurrencies plunged this week as investors trimmed their losses and sought refuge in less volatile assets. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 13 May 2022 An estimated 12 million Ukrainians have fled their homes since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, nearly half of whom have sought refuge outside the country in what has become the largest movement of people in Europe since World War II. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 Maggie and Mike McKinney, their pets and a friend sought refuge in a bathroom of their home in Florida’s Panhandle on Oct. 10, 2018 with three shot glasses and a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey. Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY, 9 May 2022 On May 8, Jill Biden will travel to Kosice and Vysne Nemecke in Slovakia to meet with refugees, humanitarian aid workers, and local Slovakians who are supporting Ukrainian families who have sought refuge in Slovakia. Fox News, 2 May 2022 At the same time, tensions have been high at the border as more Afghans fleeing Taliban rule and a crumbling economy have sought refuge in neighboring Iran. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 But this year their minds are focused fully on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, two family members who have sought refuge in their home, and their remaining family members in Chernivtsi. Time, 23 Apr. 2022 Regional officials have urged residents in eastern parts of the country to join the 11 million Ukrainians — nearly a quarter of the population — who have sought refuge in the western region or in neighboring nations such as Poland and Moldova. Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As the assault on Ukraine stretches into its second month, here’s what to know about Lviv, the Ukrainian city that’s become a pillar of support and refuge for a country at war. Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2022 Amid the flight to refuge, Ukraine and Russia are set to resume peace talks online Friday after limited progress in Istanbul earlier in the week. Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2022 Worth the trip: To rub shoulders with real mountaineers, the Britannia Hutte is a climbers' refuge a 15-minute walk or quick snow mobile ride from the nearest lift. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, 4 Dec. 2017 But there’s one place where her dignity is replenished: the Sivananda Rehabilitation Home, which has served as both hospital and refuge for six decades in a country that struggles with leprosy more than any other. New York Times, 25 Jan. 2022 Worst of all, residents say, there is little hope of recourse or refuge. New York Times, 14 Nov. 2021 These mammoths would have continued to roam in search of food, opportunities to mate and, much like Alaska’s modern mammals, refuge from the swarms of biting insects that spring up in the warm months. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Aug. 2021 Journalist Ahmad Rashid says with the U.S. gone, the Taliban won’t likely strike a deal as long as the Pakistani military continues to give their leaders and their families refuge in Pakistan. Sher Jan Ahmadzai, The Conversation, 22 July 2021 When talking with an unhoused person, encourage them to seek shade or refuge from the sun. Madalyn Amato, Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of refuge


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1594, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for refuge


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin refugium, from refugere to escape, from re- + fugere to flee — more at fugitive

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Time Traveler for refuge

Time Traveler

The first known use of refuge was in the 14th century

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Statistics for refuge

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for refuge


ref·​uge | \ ˈre-fyüj How to pronounce refuge (audio) \

Kids Definition of refuge

1 : shelter or protection from danger or distress We took refuge in a nearby barn.
2 : a place that provides shelter or protection a wildlife refuge

More from Merriam-Webster on refuge

Nglish: Translation of refuge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refuge for Arabic Speakers


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