shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.: to take refuge from a storm.
a place of shelter, protection, or safety.
anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.

verb (used with object), ref·uged, ref·ug·ing.

Archaic. to afford refuge to.

verb (used without object), ref·uged, ref·ug·ing.

Archaic. to take refuge.

Origin of refuge

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin refugium, equivalent to refug(ere) to turn and flee, run away (re- re- + fugere to flee; see fugitive) + -ium -ium

Synonyms for refuge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for refuge

Contemporary Examples of refuge

Historical Examples of refuge

  • There is a refuge for him, a defence, a safeguard which no material attack can break down.

  • I have said that the refuge in God is not a question of morals; but it is one of righteousness.

  • I have not meant to say that even with one's refuge in God there is nothing left to struggle with.

  • She knew at once that she must betake her to the Truth for refuge.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • He would never have gone to his father's room for refuge from sleeplessness.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for refuge



shelter or protection, as from the weather or danger
any place, person, action, or thing that offers or appears to offer protection, help, or reliefaccused of incompetence, he took refuge in lying
another name for traffic island


archaic to take refuge or give refuge to

Word Origin for refuge

C14: via Old French from Latin refugium, from refugere to flee away, from re- + fugere to escape
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for refuge

"shelter or protection from danger or distress," late 14c., from Old French refuge "hiding place" (12c.), from Latin refugium "a taking refuge; place to flee back to," from re- "back" (see re-) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive) + -ium "place for."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper