co·​lo·​nial | \ kə-ˈlō-nē-əl How to pronounce colonial (audio) , -nyəl \

Definition of colonial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a colony colonial trade colonial life a colonial capital The Haitian Revolution, led by self-liberated enslaved people against the French colonial government, was an early precursor to the abolition movements of the United States.— Chadd Scott : having the status of a colony colonial territories
b : possessing or composed of colonies Britain's colonial empire … when the United States became a colonial power, assuming control of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Hawaii …— Peter S. Canellos
2 or less commonly Colonial : of or relating to a period when an area is being colonized and especially to the period of European colonization in U.S. history between the early 17th century and the late 18th century in colonial times : such as
a : made or prevailing during a colonial period a town known for its Dutch/French/Spanish colonial architecture colonial furniture
b : adapted from or reminiscent of a mode of design from a colonial period new homes built in the colonial style
3 : forming, existing in, or used by a colony Though it may look like a tropical plant or colorful rock, coral is a colonial carnivore …— Mark Derr


plural colonials

Definition of colonial (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a member or inhabitant of a colony British colonials in India a rebellion of the colonials
2a : a product (such as a coin or stamp) made for use in a colony
b or Colonial : a product exhibiting colonial style especially : a house built in the neoclassical style of the American colonial period LaMontagne said the homes will be two-story Colonials with attached garages and about three to four bedrooms. — Mark Hayward

Other Words from colonial


colonialize \ kə-​ˈlō-​nē-​ə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce colonial (audio) , -​nyə-​ˌlīz \ transitive verb
colonially adverb
colonialness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for colonial

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of colonial in a Sentence

Adjective 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. Noun They bought a Colonial on a quiet street. increasing tension between colonials and the mother country See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, or Zanu-PF – has long held sway in districts like Uzumba, rural areas where much of a brutal seven-year bush war was waged against British colonial rule. Jeffrey Moyo, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 May 2022 Their ties have worsened over recent years because of disputes that stem from Japan’s 1910 to 1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Dasl Yoon, WSJ, 10 May 2022 While Koreans in Japan were considered Japanese nationals under colonial rule, that changed after World War II, rendering them effectively stateless. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 29 Apr. 2022 For decades, the bronzes have served as emblems of the African struggle to reclaim art expropriated under colonial rule. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 14 Apr. 2022 From colonial-era photo albums to visual reveries, social documentary and conceptual approaches to photography, the exhibitions explore the polyphonic ways in which photographs are produced, circulated and interpreted. Vogue, 27 Apr. 2022 While Oxley sold off parcels of the land before returning to England in 1857, the colonial era bungalow was said to have been built by Jewish businessman Manasseh Meyer in the 1920s. Jonathan Burgos, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 Legal scholars have said the colonial-era sedition offense had not been used for decades, but is likely to be used more after the security law was imposed. NBC News, 20 Apr. 2022 Jacques drove me to L'Union Estate, a colonial-era farm with the largest vanilla plantation in the Seychelles. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 19 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From the hills of Tuscany through the valley of Napa to the top of the Johnnycake Mountain Farm neighborhood in Burlington stands a 12-room, luxury European colonial with lush rolling hills, emerald meadows and a private pond as its backdrop. Karen A. Avitabile, Hartford Courant, 7 May 2022 Modern updates convey a warm, contemporary style in a classic 1920s colonial in West Hartford. Karen A. Avitabile,, 5 Apr. 2022 Brian Snitker Braves manager Brian Snitker lives in a $635,000 colonial in Marietta. Avery Newmark, ajc, 23 Mar. 2022 Putin took a pronounced colonial turn when returning to the Presidency a decade ago. Timothy Snyder, The New Yorker, 28 Apr. 2022 One by one, the family purchased the eight colonial, cape and split-level homes and transformed the properties into group home settings. Andrew Brown, Hartford Courant, 24 Apr. 2022 House of the week: The Georgian colonial at 3005 Glengary Road is classic Shaker Heights. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 7 Mar. 2022 Born in British colonial Kenya and educated at Olympia’s Evergreen State College, Furse fought throughout her public life for the rights of women, farm workers and Native Americans. oregonlive, 22 Apr. 2022 To complement the restored wood accents in this Boston colonial revival, Cecilia Casagrande opted for Hague Blue. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of colonial


1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for colonial

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The first known use of colonial was in 1768

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Dictionary Entries Near colonial



colonial bent

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Colonial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for colonial


co·​lo·​nial | \ kə-ˈlō-nē-əl How to pronounce colonial (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on colonial

Nglish: Translation of colonial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of colonial for Arabic Speakers


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