col·​o·​nist | \ˈkä-lə-nist \

Definition of colonist 

1 : a member or inhabitant of a colony

2 : one that colonizes or settles in a new country

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Examples of colonist in a Sentence

British colonists settled the area in the 18th century. over time the colonists began to sense that they were becoming a people unto themselves

Recent Examples on the Web

Tensions between the colonists and British authorities over freedom of movement intensified until the American Revolution. Peter Andreas, Washington Post, "Breaking border laws is as American as it gets," 3 July 2018 For colonists, drinking water meant risking one’s life, and no one who could afford otherwise dared do it. Amanda Cargill, Smithsonian, "What Did the Founding Fathers Eat and Drink as They Started a Revolution?," 3 July 2018 American colonists in the 18th century did indeed resent tariffs imposed by the British government on goods imported into the colonies, and their anger over taxes and tariffs incited a rebellion. WSJ, "Tariffs Helped the U.S. Economy Find Its Legs," 13 July 2018 More than 200 colonists left on a special train sent by President Woodrow Wilson. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "Old American colony in Mexico clings to its past," 18 May 2018 War with Spain prevented speedy resupply of the colony—the first English settlement in the New World—and when a rescue mission arrived 3 years later, the colonists had vanished. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: toxic toads, three-parent babies in Singapore, and the hunt for the Lost Colony," 8 June 2018 The colonists were soon fed up with the Gaspee and its captain, Lt. Jennifer Mcdermott, Fox News, "Before the Tea Party: A forgotten rebellion in Rhode Island," 7 June 2018 The colonists at Mobile were protected from Indian and English attack by Fort Louis, the first building constructed at the site. Kelly Kazek,, "Louisiana again claiming 1st Mardi Gras; here's the case for Mobile," 1 Feb. 2018 The 117 colonists arrived too late to plant crops, and their situation quickly grew desperate. Gillian Brockell, Washington Post, "Dismissed as a forgery, could a mysterious stone found near Roanoke’s ‘Lost Colony’ be real?," 5 July 2018

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

1701, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for colonist

Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for colonist

The first known use of colonist was in 1701

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More Definitions for colonist



English Language Learners Definition of colonist

: a person who lives in a colony

: a person who helps to create a colony


col·​o·​nist | \ˈkä-lə-nəst \

Kids Definition of colonist

1 : a person living in a colony

2 : a person who helps to found a colony

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More from Merriam-Webster on colonist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for colonist

Spanish Central: Translation of colonist

Nglish: Translation of colonist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of colonist for Arabic Speakers

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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