hegira

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DEFINITION

noun
: a journey especially when undertaken to escape from a dangerous or undesirable situation : exodus.

EXAMPLES
1. “Shimmering in the sun-flashed dust of ten thousand hoofs, she saw pass, from East to West, across a continent, the great hegira of the land-hungry Anglo-Saxon.” — From Jack London’s 1913 novel The Valley of the Moon.
2. “Integrity-and-ingredient-driven spots like Franny’s and Frankies 457 Court Street Spuntino promulgated the then-quirky notion that it was worth making the hegira all the way from Manhattan to Brooklyn to eat excellent food.” — From an article by Jeff Gordinier in The New York Times, January 1, 2014.

DID YOU KNOW?
In the year A.D. 622, the prophet Muhammad was forced to flee his native city, Mecca, to escape persecution from those who rejected his message. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, migrated with a number of his followers to Medina, where they were guaranteed protection by local clans. This event, which traditionally marks the beginning of the Islamic era, is known in Arabic as the “Hijra”—literally, “departure.” That Arabic term passed into Medieval Latin (where it was modified to “Hegira”) and from there it eventually made its way into English. By the mid-18th century, English speakers were using “hegira” for other journeys, too—especially arduous ones.

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