Definition of refuge in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrefˌyo͞oj/
Pronunciation: /ˈrefˌyo͞oZH/


1A condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble: he was forced to take refuge in the French embassy I sought refuge in drink
More example sentences
  • He said he accepted she was one of life's inadequates who sought refuge in drink and was prone to self-harm.
  • Angola is relatively urbanized because in the 1980s many people sought refuge in the safer urban areas.
  • This was not difficult, given that less than 15 per cent of people sought refuge in public shelters or tube stations.
1.1Something providing shelter: the family came to be seen as a refuge from a harsh world
More example sentences
  • In my younger and more vulnerable years, I believed school offered a gentle refuge from the cutthroat savagery of the working world.
  • Upland's owners bought and renovated the hotel three years ago, as a refuge from a high-powered life in the capital city.
  • For many of these young MPs the canteen is proving a refuge from the long-drawn speeches and verbal duels in the House.
shelter, protection, safety, security, asylum, sanctuary;
tent city
sanctuary, shelter, place of safety, haven, safe haven, sanctum;
retreat, hiding place, hideaway, hideout
1.2An institution providing safe accommodations for women who have suffered violence from a spouse or partner.
Example sentences
  • Women are flocking to refuges and violent partners are moving back into the family home following the outlawing of temporary barring orders, according to women's aid groups.
  • For many years Bendigo-based Julie Oberin was Chair of the Women's Services Network, the peak body for women's domestic violence services, including refuges.
  • She said its aims were to encourage more women to report violent incidents in the home and to reverse the trend whereby women and children had little option but to flee to refuges and temporary accommodation.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin refugium, from re- 'back' + fugere 'flee'.

  • fever from Old English:

    Fever has been with us since Anglo-Saxon times, when we borrowed the word from Latin febris. A fever makes you hot and bothered, and the word may ultimately go back to a root meaning ‘to be restless’. In herbal medicine the plant feverfew (Old English) was traditionally seen as a cure for fever. In Latin the name was febrifugia, from febris ‘fever’ and fugare ‘drive away’, from which we get the medical term febrifuge (late 17th century) for a drug that reduces fever. Closely related to fugare is fugere ‘to flee’ found in fugitive (Late Middle English), refuge (Late Middle English), and refugee (late 17th century).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ref·uge

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