colony

noun
col·​o·​ny | \ ˈkä-lə-nē How to pronounce colony (audio) \
plural colonies

Definition of colony

1a : a body of people living in a new territory but retaining ties with the parent state a colony of settlers
b : the territory inhabited by such a body the 13 British colonies in America
2 : a distinguishable localized population within a species a colony of termites bird colonies on the island
3a : a circumscribed mass of microorganisms usually growing in or on a solid medium colonies of bacteria
b : the aggregation of zooids of a compound animal coral colonies
4a : a group of individuals or things with common characteristics or interests situated in close association an artist colony a nudist colony
b : the section occupied by such a group
5 : a group of persons institutionalized away from others a leper colony a penal colony also : the land or buildings occupied by such a group

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Synonyms for colony

Synonyms

plantation

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Examples of colony in a Sentence

Massachusetts was one of the original 13 British colonies that later became the United States. a former French colony in Africa

Recent Examples on the Web

After the war, these colonists were determined to defend their claims alongside others who had joined them from England, Scotland, Ireland and the eastern parts of the British colonies. Kathleen Duval, WSJ, "‘Frontier Rebels’ Review: The Revolution Out West," 18 Dec. 2018 As predicted, the structure of the colonies inhibited the transmission of pathogens. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Sick ants stay away from the kids," 26 Nov. 2018 At first, Funch and Martin thought that to be the result of competing colonies. Kenneth Chang, The Seattle Times, "Metropolis of 200 million termite mounds was hidden in plain sight," 20 Nov. 2018 The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing's growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover. Fox News, "In a first, Hong Kong bans pro-independence political party," 23 Sep. 2018 While government officials haven’t endorsed the view, pro-democracy lawmakers worry that such remarks could represent the latest Communist Party effort to curb free expression in the former British colony. David Tweed, Bloomberg.com, "China’s Warning About ‘Dictatorship’ Chant Chills Hong Kong Vigil," 4 June 2018 Robertson père got 6,000 acres of undulating pastureland and forest atop craggy sea cliffs, one of which is home to the world’s largest mainland colony of gannets. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "We Should All Just Move to New Zealand," 17 Jan. 2019 An insurgency has simmered in Papua since the early 1960s, when Indonesia annexed the region that was a former Dutch colony. Niniek Karmini, The Seattle Times, "Indonesia rejects rebels’ demand on Papua independence talks," 11 Dec. 2018 According to Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, there will be a space station colony in just 31 years. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "The 20 Best Disney Channel Movies of All Time," 30 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'colony.' 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 colony

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for colony

Middle English colonie, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin colonia, from colonus farmer, colonist, from colere to cultivate — more at wheel

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Statistics for colony

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for colony

The first known use of colony was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for colony

colony

noun

English Language Learners Definition of colony

: an area that is controlled by or belongs to a country and is usually far away from it
: a group of people sent by a country to live in such a colony
: a group of plants or animals living or growing in one place

colony

noun
col·​o·​ny | \ ˈkä-lə-nē How to pronounce colony (audio) \
plural colonies

Kids Definition of colony

1 : a distant territory belonging to or under the control of a nation
2 : a group of people sent out by a government to a new territory
3 : a group of living things of one kind living together a colony of ants
4 : a group of people with common qualities or interests located in close association an art colony

colony

noun
col·​o·​ny | \ ˈkäl-ə-nē How to pronounce colony (audio) \
plural colonies

Medical Definition of colony

: a circumscribed mass of microorganisms usually growing in or on a solid medium

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Comments on colony

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