boat people noun plural
: people who leave their country in boats in order to get away from a dangerous situation
: refugees fleeing by boat
First Known Use of BOAT PEOPLE
Rhymes with BOAT PEOPLE
, Plain People
boat people (Concise Encyclopedia)
Refugees fleeing by boat. The term originally referred to the thousands of Vietnamese who fled their country by sea following the collapse of the South Vietnamese government in 1975. Crowded into small vessels, they were prey to pirates, and many suffered dehydration, starvation, and death by drowning. The term was later applied to waves of refugees who attempted to reach the U.S. by boat from Cuba and Haiti and also to Afghan and other refugees seeking asylum in Australia.
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