1792, from French émigré "an emigrant," noun use of past participle of émigrer "emigrate" (18c.), from Latin emigrare "depart from a place" (see emigration). Originally used of royalist refugees from the French Revolution; extended 1920s to refugees from the Russian Revolution, then generally to political exiles.
ÉMIGRÉS Earned their livelihood by giving guitar lessons and mixing salads.
[Flaubert, "Dictionary of Received Ideas"]