Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a place where you go to protect yourself from something dangerous or threatening

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun refuge is derived from the Latin ‘refugium’ which comes from ‘fugere’ (to flee) and ‘re- meaning ‘back’. It was first used in English in the late 14th century.


A refuge is a place where you go to protect yourself from something dangerous or threatening. It also refers to the safety that you find there. If you take, seek or find refuge in a place you find safety there. The fixed expression take, seek or find refuge in something means to behave in a way that makes you feel more comfortable in an unpleasant situation. 20th June is World Refugee Day, a day sponsored by the UN’s Refugee Agency that aims to show that the global public stands with refugees. The theme of this year’s day is Take A Step on World Refugee Day, with the hashtag #StepWithRefugees. ‘Refugee’ is derived from the French word ‘réfugié’ meaning someone who has gone in search of refuge.


“To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory.”
(Tennessee Office for Refugees)

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
(Maya Angelou)

Related words

haven, sanctuary, harbour

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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