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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 Married to Ananias Dare, Eleanor gave birth to Virginia—the first English child born in the New World—shortly after the English colonists landed on Roanoke Island. Mark Thiessen, National Geographic, "Is This Inscribed Stone a Notorious Forgery—or the Answer to America’s Oldest Mystery?," 29 May 2018 What followed were the infamous Stamp and Townsend acts, which directly taxed the colonists and imposed import duties on various items, including tea. Hoyt Hilsman, WSJ, "Tariffs Made America Great," 10 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.

See More

First Known Use of colonist

1701, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about colonist

Statistics for colonist

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for colonist

The first known use of colonist was in 1701

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on colonist

What made you want to look up colonist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!