co·lo·nial | \ kə-ˈlō-nē-əl , -nyəl \

Definition of colonial 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a colony

2 often capitalized : of or relating to the original 13 colonies forming the United States: such as

a : made or prevailing in America during the colonial period colonial architecture

b : adapted from or reminiscent of an American colonial mode of design colonial furniture

3 : forming or existing in a colony colonial organisms

4 : possessing or composed of colonies a colonial empire



Definition of colonial (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a member or inhabitant of a colony

2a : a product (such as a coin or stamp) made for use in a colony

b : a product exhibiting colonial style especially, often capitalized : a house built in the neoclassical style of the American colonial period

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Other words from colonial


colonialize \kə-ˈlō-nē-ə-ˌlīz, -nyə-ˌlīz \ transitive verb
colonially adverb
colonialness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for colonial

Synonyms: Adjective

gregarious, sociable, social

Synonyms: Noun

colonist, colonizer, frontiersman, homesteader, pioneer, settler

Antonyms: Adjective

nonsocial, solitary

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Examples of colonial in a Sentence


The country was a colonial power. a colonial nation and its colonial empire The book describes life in Colonial America. an example of colonial architecture The port had been very important in colonial times.


They bought a Colonial on a quiet street. increasing tension between colonials and the mother country
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The taverns where alcohol was consumed also played a vital role in colonial life. Amanda Cargill, Smithsonian, "What Did the Founding Fathers Eat and Drink as They Started a Revolution?," 3 July 2018 In colonial towns, English and European immigrants found success opening confectionery shops that sold ice cream. Linda Rodriguez Mcrobbie,, "How ice cream made America," 30 June 2018 The earthquake struck on Sept. 19, causing significant damage to many historical monuments, including colonial churches. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Mexico earthquake uncovers ancient temple hidden in damaged pyramid," 12 July 2018 The new exhibitions, created by Haley Sharpe Design, are more substantial, extending the story of westward migration back to the colonial days of St. Louis, and grappling with the fundamental questions posed by the historical narrative. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018 Starting in February 2015, his team dug about 20 test pits, unearthing modern debris, colonial porcelain, and, finally, the basalt slabs of a Mexica period floor. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital," 21 June 2018 Fields used in pickup games range from manicured grass to informal quadrangles etched into the dirt — many next to ancient cemeteries, religious complexes and the remnants of pre-colonial neighborhoods. Washington Post, "Soccer amid ruins: World Cup inspires unusual fields in Peru," 20 June 2018 Mahathir defined his nation’s transition from a moribund post-colonial state to one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies. Laignee Barron / Langkawi, Time, "Could Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad Become the World’s Oldest Leader? He Speaks to TIME About What Sparked His Political Comeback," 8 May 2018 The sprawling Spanish colonial city of Querétaro, 600 miles northwest of Tabasco, is perched on the edge of Mexico’s historic breadbasket region known as El Bajío. Robbie Whelan, WSJ, "Two States of Mexico Reveal the Split Driving Sunday’s Presidential Election," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Plans range from a modestly sized ranch to a four-bedroom colonial. Tony Bacewicz,, "West River Farms, East Windsor," 28 June 2018 In its heyday, before the end of Portuguese colonial rule in 1975, the park drew celebrities like John Wayne and Gregory Peck to central Mozambique. Christopher Torchia, The Christian Science Monitor, "Underdogs no more: African wild dogs make comeback in Mozambique," 22 June 2018 One of the more stunning properties in these neighborhoods was a 6,817 square feet southern colonial at 408 E. 7th St., The Heights. Fernando Alfonso Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Homes for sale in Houston’s hottest neighborhoods right now," 1 June 2018 Photo: istock/getty images The first house his team worked on was a stately white colonial with black shutters. Mike Kerrigan, WSJ, "Summer Jobs Teach Real-World Lessons," 31 May 2018 The milestone step comes after both houses of parliament had earlier approved granting equal rights to the tribes that have been governed by discriminatory laws since British colonial rule. Riaz Khan, The Seattle Times, "Pakistan approves bill to merge tribal regions with country," 27 May 2018 Housed in a pastel-yellow colonial building opposite a 16th-century church, its entrance is flanked by tall vases, depicting sampan gliding between karst hills. The Economist, "The long arm of the dollar," 19 May 2018 The 253-year-old New England colonial sits behind a stone wall erected by a wary homeowner after the Lindbergh baby kidnapping in the early 1930s. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "This is the 16-year-old behind the National School Walkout," 19 Apr. 2018 All these populations met and mingled for the first time in colonial Latin America. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Latin America’s lost histories revealed in modern DNA," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'colonial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of colonial


1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1798, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for colonial

Last Updated

24 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for colonial

The first known use of colonial was in 1768

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More Definitions for colonial



English Language Learners Definition of colonial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to a colony

: owning or made up of colonies

: of or relating to the original 13 colonies forming the United States



English Language Learners Definition of colonial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a two-story house built in a style that was first popular in the U.S. during the American colonial period (before 1776)

: a person who is part of a colony


co·lo·nial | \ kə-ˈlō-nē-əl \

Kids Definition of colonial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a colony

2 often capitalized : of or relating to the original 13 colonies that formed the United States



Kids Definition of colonial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of or a person living in a colony

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More from Merriam-Webster on colonial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for colonial

Spanish Central: Translation of colonial

Nglish: Translation of colonial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of colonial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on colonial

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an open space surrounded by woods

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