ref·​u·​gee | \ ˌre-fyu̇-ˈjē How to pronounce refugee (audio) , ˈre-fyu̇-ˌjē \

Definition of refugee

: one that flees especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution

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Other Words from refugee

refugeeism \ ˌre-​fyu̇-​ˈjē-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce refugeeism (audio) , ˈre-​fyu̇-​ˌjē-​ \ noun

Synonyms for refugee


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Examples of refugee in a Sentence

Thousands of refugees have fled the area. refugees began returning to their homeland after years of political unrest and war
Recent Examples on the Web More importantly, the book raises issues of refugee resettlement that the United States never truly has resolved. Jeff Rowe, Star Tribune, "Review: American culture seen new in 'After the Last Border'," 10 Aug. 2020 Among these recommendations are calls to establish commissions and offices for environmental justice, immigrant and refugee affairs and disability rights. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, "Bill of Rights for Detroiters could be first change to city charter in 8 years," 29 July 2020 Som Subedi resettled in Portland as a refugee 12 years ago. oregonlive, "‘It’s a retraumatizing kind of experience:’ How COVID-19 is affecting refugee communities in Multnomah County," 1 July 2020 According to the International Rescue Committee—an NGO headquartered in New York City that runs a hospital for women in Dadaab—crowded conditions and the fractured society in refugee camps raise the risk of violence against women and girls. National Geographic, "For these women, an age-old way of life is ending in the Horn of Africa," 19 June 2020 Gross identified a need for balance in those interactions, where immigrant and refugee women could instead be on equal par with those who would otherwise be clientele. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian Magazine, "These Supper Clubs Are Using Food to Cross Cultural Divides," 13 Feb. 2020 Some of the communities that have passed declarations on refugee resettlement include Denver, Golden, Centennial, Littleton, Arvada, as well as Arapahoe and Jefferson counties. Michael Kunzelman, The Denver Post, "Judge agrees to block Trump order on refugee resettlement," 15 Jan. 2020 How baker and refugee Youssef Akhtarini opened Aleppo Sweets for homesick Syrians in Providence, RI. Bon Appétit, "How to Pitch," 10 July 2020 This is a story about Herman Broder, a refugee and Holocaust survivor who finds himself in the predicament of having three wives, including one who has miraculously returned from the dead. cleveland, "Yiddish literature discussion series set for Shaker Library, via Zoom; Legacy Village has summer giveaways: more: Press Run," 10 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'refugee.' 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 refugee

1685, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for refugee

French réfugié, past participle of (se) réfugier to take refuge, from Middle French refugier, from Latin refugium

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Time Traveler for refugee

Time Traveler

The first known use of refugee was in 1685

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Statistics for refugee

Last Updated

13 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Refugee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for refugee


How to pronounce refugee (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of refugee

: someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons


ref·​u·​gee | \ ˌre-fyu̇-ˈjē How to pronounce refugee (audio) \

Kids Definition of refugee

: a person who flees for safety (as from war) usually to a foreign country


ref·​u·​gee | \ ˌre-fyu̇-ˈjē How to pronounce refugee (audio) \

Legal Definition of refugee

: an individual seeking refuge or asylum especially : an individual who has left his or her native country and is unwilling or unable to return to it because of persecution or fear of persecution (as because of race, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion)

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