1. Protection or shelter, as from danger or hardship: sought refuge from the storm in a cabin.
a. A place providing protection or shelter: a colony that was a refuge for religious nonconformists.
b. An undeveloped area for the preservation of animals and plants.
3. A source of help, relief, or comfort in times of trouble: "Reva's love was her refuge from shame and degradation" (Richard Wright). See Synonyms at shelter.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin refugium, from refugere, to run away : re-, re- + fugere, to flee.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.