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 But after the announcement demanding visas, a long line of refugees slowly filed off the boat. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump, Rubio speak out after Bahamas hurricane survivors were kicked off ferry," 10 Sep. 2019 Since 2017, neighboring Bangladesh has provided safety for the vast majority of refugees. The Christian Science Monitor, "Africa rises for immigrant rights," 6 Sep. 2019 Some of the refugees don't want to be repatriated for fear of further violence and oppression. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for August 23: Overstock CEO, G7, Japan-South Korea, romance scams," 23 Aug. 2019 All the while, Great Britain is struggling to house an influx of Ukrainian refugees, bringing housing officer Daniel together with Victor Goraya (Maxim Baldry), his new beau. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Years and Years: Dystopian sci-fi that makes Black Mirror feel bubbly," 8 Aug. 2019 To transcribe the traumatic journey of 68 million refugees, the Phillips yielded its floors to 75 international artists., "Wordless terror and the world’s refugees: Steve Duin," 2 Aug. 2019 The Trump administration already had announced cuts to migrant shelters and its goal to bring the number of refugees to zero. Elaine Ayala,, "A temporary migrant shelter was uncommonly temporary," 25 July 2019 Our nation’s cruelty-as-deterrent policy against the influx of refugees fleeing failed states harkens America back to its interment days and our own penchant for human-rights abuses. David Carroll, Quartz, "China embraces its surveillance state. The US pretends it doesn’t have one," 23 July 2019 This rule violates both domestic and international laws, including a decades-old agreement put into place partly to preclude a repeat of the world’s shameful treatment of Holocaust refugees. Catherine Rampell, The Denver Post, "Rampell: Trump’s immigration policies speak louder than his racist, xenophobic words," 22 July 2019

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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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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