• synonyms


[ ref-yoo-jee, ref-yoo-jee ]
/ ˌrɛf yʊˈdʒi, ˈrɛf yʊˌdʒi /


a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc.


Valentine’s DayRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.

Nearby words

refsum's disease, reft, refudiate, refuel, refuge, refugee, refugee capital, refugees, refugium, refulgence, refulgent

Origin of refugee

1675–85; < French réfugié, past participle of réfugier to take refuge. See refuge, -ee
Related formsref·u·gee·ism, nounpro·ref·u·gee, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for refugeeism


/ (ˌrɛfjʊˈdʒiː) /


  1. a person who has fled from some danger or problem, esp political persecutionrefugees from Rwanda
  2. (as modifier)a refugee camp; a refugee problem
Derived Formsrefugeeism, noun
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 refugeeism



1680s, from French refugié, noun use of past participle of refugier "to take shelter, protect," from Old French refuge (see refuge). First applied to French Huguenots who migrated after the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes. The word meant "one seeking asylum," till 1914, when it evolved to mean "one fleeing home" (first applied in this sense to civilians in Flanders heading west to escape fighting in World War I). In Australian slang from World War II, reffo.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper