"shelter or protection from danger, assistance in distress," late 14c., from Old French refuge "hiding place" (12c.), from Latin refugium "a taking refuge; a place of refuge, place to flee back to," from re- "back" (see re-) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive (adj.)) + -ium neuter suffix in a sense of "place for."
By late 19c. especially "temporary shelter for the destitute or homeless." To take refuge "seek safety or shelter (in)," literally or figuratively, is by 1690s.
1590s, transitive, "afford refuge;" 1630s, intransitive, "take refuge, seek shelter or protection," from refuge (n.) or (adj.). Marked "now rare" in OED; take refuge being the more usual verb form. Related: Refuged; refuging.
1680s, "one who flees to a refuge or shelter or place of safety; one who in times of persecution or political disorder flees to a foreign country for safety," from French refugié, a noun use of the past participle of refugier "to take shelter, protect," from Old French refuge "hiding place," from Latin refugium "a taking refuge; place to flee back to," from re- "back" (see re-) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive (adj.)) + -ium , neuter ending in a sense of "place for."
In English, the word was first applied to French Huguenots who fled persecution in their native country after the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes. The word meant "one seeking asylum" until 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.
"rabbit-hole, fox-hole, hole in the ground excavated by an animal as a refuge or habitation," c. 1300, borewe, a collateral form of Old English burgh "stronghold, fortress" (see borough); influenced by bergh "hill" and berwen "to defend, take refuge."
Mediterranean island, from Latin Melite, perhaps from Phoenician melita, literally "place of refuge," from malat "he escaped." It formerly belonged to the Knights Hospitaller (Knights of Malta) from 1530-1798.
early 15c., earlier asile (late 14c.), "place of refuge, sanctuary," from Latin asylum "sanctuary," from Greek asylon "refuge, fenced territory," noun use of neuter of asylos "inviolable, safe from violence," especially of persons seeking protection, from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + sylē "right of seizure," which is of unknown etymology.
Literally, "an inviolable place." Formerly a place where criminals and debtors sought shelter from justice and from which they could not be taken without sacrilege. The general sense of "safe or secure place" is from 1640s; the abstract sense of "inviolable shelter, protection from pursuit or arrest" is from 1712. The meaning "benevolent institution to shelter some class of persons suffering social, mental, or bodily defects" is from 1773, originally of female orphans.
"a bay, cove, inlet, or recess of a large body of water where vessels can load and unload and find shelter from storms; a harbor, whether natural or artificial," Old English port "a port, harbor, a place where there is a constant resort of vessels for the purpose of loading and unloading;" also "a town, market town, city," reinforced by Old French port "harbor, port; mountain pass." The Old English and Old French words both are from Latin portus "a port, harbor," figuratively "haven, place of refuge, asylum" (in Old Latin also "a house;" in Late Latin also "a warehouse"), originally "an entrance, a passage," akin to porta "a city gate, a gate, a door" (from PIE *prtu- "a going, a passage," suffixed form of root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over").
[I]in law, a place where persons and merchandise are allowed to pass into and out of the realm and at which customs officers are stationed for the purpose of inspecting or appraising imported goods. In this sense a port may exist on the frontier, where the foreign communication is by land. [Century Dictionary]
The figurative sense "place, position, or condition of refuge" is attested in English from early 15c.; phrase any port in a storm, indicating "any refuge is welcomed in adversity," is by 1749. A port of call (1810) is one paid a scheduled visit by a vessel in the course of its voyage. The verb meaning "to carry or bring into a port" is by 1610s.
New York village established 1645 by English Puritans (now a neighborhood in Queens), an English corruption of Dutch Vlissingen, name of Dutch town where the Puritans had taken refuge, literally "flowing" (so called for its location on an estuary of the West Scheldt), and thus perhaps distantly related to flush (v.1).
also redout, "small, enclosed military work," c. 1600, from French redoute (17c.), from Italian ridotto, earlier ridotta, "place of retreat," from Medieval Latin reductus "place of refuge, retreat," noun use of past participle of reducere "to lead or bring back" (see reduce). The unetymological -b- was added by influence of unrelated and now obsolete English verb redoubt "to dread, fear" (see redoubtable). As an adjective, Latin reductus meant "withdrawn, retired; remote, distant."