refuge

noun
ref·​uge | \ˈre-(ˌ)fyüj 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

refuge

verb
refuged; refuging

Definition of refuge (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to give refuge to

intransitive verb

: to seek or take refuge

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for refuge

Synonyms: Noun

asylum, bolt-hole [chiefly British], harbor, harborage, haven, retreat, sanctuary, sanctum, shelter

Synonyms: Verb

harbor, shelter

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Mexico has offered refuge, asylum or work visas, and its government said Monday that 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them during the 45-day application process for more permanent status. Maria Verza, The Seattle Times, "US hardens border at Tijuana to prepare for migrant caravan," 13 Nov. 2018 Another show, which depicts an Egyptian militant seeking refuge in Sudan, drew a protest from the Sudanese foreign ministry. The Economist, "Egypt’s bumbling police get their man, at least on television," 31 May 2018 In Skate Kitchen, a young skater named Camille (played by Rachelle Vinberg), stifled by her mom, seeks refuge among a cadre of skateboarding friends in a new town. Katherine Cusumano, Teen Vogue, ""Skate Kitchen" Director Crystal Moselle on Why It’s So Important To Take Young Women Seriously," 23 Aug. 2018 More worrying, however, oxygen levels in the chamber where the boys sought refuge were falling. Kaweewit Kaewjinda And Stephen Wright, Houston Chronicle, "Amid jubilation, 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave," 10 July 2018 More worrying, however, oxygen levels in the chamber where the boys sought refuge were falling. Kaweewit Kaewjinda And Stephen Wright, BostonGlobe.com, "Four boys have been rescued from Thai cave," 9 July 2018 In June, the nation’s highest court ordered that Correa be included in the investigation into the 2012 kidnapping of Fernando Balda in Bogota, Colombia, where the outspoken legislator had sought refuge after an escalating feud with the president. Washington Post, "AP Interview: Correa says no plans to return to Ecuador," 5 July 2018 Although this policy, intended to pressure the Africans to seek refuge elsewhere, prohibited them from working, businesses were rarely fined for hiring them. Brian Goldstone, The New Republic, "Essential reporting, interpretation, and opinion on politics and culture. Don't miss our latest.," 26 June 2018 Our tax dollars have funded the terrorization of families seeking refuge. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Protesters Gather at LaGuardia Airport as Separated Children Arrive in New York," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Eventually, young Jan and his father paid smugglers to guide them to refuge in Bardejov, Slovakia. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Holocaust Survivor Rushed to Make Up for Lost Time and Lives," 2 Nov. 2018 Last year, Chechnya was back in the headlines after reports that officials had conducted a brutal purge of gay men, sparking global outrage and prompting a coordinated international effort to grant the men refuge abroad. Washington Post, "Chechnya’s leader uses World Cup to extend his outreach to Middle East," 27 May 2018 Somehow, the sisters — ages 12, 8, 5 and 2 — made their way to refuge in Bangladesh. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "The Rohingya Suffer Real Horrors. So Why Are Some of Their Stories Untrue?," 1 Feb. 2018 On a bare stage with only two chairs and a table , Samahir Farhan portrayed before 300 people the sense of helplessness and hopelessness that refugees feel. Mahmoud Al-najjar And Gilgamesh Nabeel, USA TODAY, "Homeless, helpless refugees use theater to push for a better life in squalid Iraqi camp," 16 Sep. 2017 Groups like SIREN, an immigrant and refuge rights organization, have fielded 1,500 calls since the election. Ramona Giwargis, The Mercury News, "San Jose, Santa Clara County approve plans to protect immigrants under Trump presidency," 10 Jan. 2017 Later Monday evening, Porter and his family drove out to Powell Park to join Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and Thorns defender Kendall Johnson for a large and fun game of soccer with dozens of young immigrant and refuge children. Jamie Goldberg, OregonLive.com, "Portland Timbers, Thorns, T2 players and staff volunteer in community as part of Stand Together Week," 6 June 2017 By March 2014, the island’s livable habitat — that is, the area above the high-tide mark — was the smallest ever recorded, and refuge sites for the melomys in rock caves, crevices and overhangs had begun to disappear, the report said. Michelle Innis, New York Times, "Today’s Headlines: Asia Edition," 14 June 2016

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.

See More

First Known Use of refuge

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1594, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for refuge

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about refuge

Dictionary Entries near refuge

refry

reft

refuel

refuge

refugee

refugium

refulgence

Statistics for refuge

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for refuge

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for refuge

refuge

noun

English Language Learners Definition of refuge

: shelter or protection from danger or trouble

: a place that provides shelter or protection

refuge

noun
ref·​uge | \ˈre-fyüj \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on refuge

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with refuge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for refuge

Spanish Central: Translation of refuge

Nglish: Translation of refuge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refuge for Arabic Speakers

Comments on refuge

What made you want to look up refuge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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