col·​o·​ni·​za·​tion ˌkä-lə-nə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce colonization (audio)
variants also British colonisation
plural colonizations
: an act or instance of colonizing: such as
: the establishing of a colony (see colony sense 1) : subjugation of a people or area especially as an extension of state power
The news arrives at a time of debate over how museums should handle artifacts acquired through colonization and conquest.Isis Davis-Marks
"… in contrast to their earlier colonization of the Caribbean, the Spanish encountered highly urbanized civilizations in Mesoamerica and continually equated them with those of the Islamic and Greco-Roman Mediterranean."David Carballo
: migration to and settlement in an inhabited or uninhabited area
the colonization of space/Mars
biology : the spread and development of an organism in a new area or habitat
The colonization of land by eukaryotes probably was facilitated by a partnership (symbiosis) between a photosynthesizing organism … and a fungus.Daniel S. Heckman et al.
medical : the presence and multiplication of a microorganism (such as a bacterium) in or on a host or an inanimate object or surface
It is important to reassess wounds frequently to determine if there is colonization of bacteria within the wound.Emergency Medicine Reports
Adhesion to the intestinal epithelial cells is considered as necessary for probiotic microorganisms to colonize the large intestine, and colonization is important for beneficial health effects such as modulation of the immune system …O. D. Amund
… they significantly reduced the rate of bacterial colonization of the devices from 30% to 9% and cut the rate of infection in patients from 4% to 0.Carol Potera
: the act or practice of appropriating something that one does not own or have a right to
… the pop culture discourse is more open to considering the fraught dynamic of Western colonization of music rooted in Africa than it's ever been.Matthew Ismael Ruiz
It's a strange objection from someone who rails against the growing blandness of New York—the chain stores and suburban sensibilities, the colonization by the rich, the boring, the feloniously ahistoric.Ginia Bellafante
: the state of being colonized : subjugation by a foreign power
"If I am fighting our struggle on Indigenous territories, then I must also understand and be in solidarity with Indigenous struggles against colonization. To imagine our freedom without first recognizing and fighting for Indigenous sovereignty is impossible."El Jones
colonizationist noun
also British colonisationist
plural colonizationists

Examples of colonization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The cognitive skills of the great tit have been important for its successful colonization of new habitats. Anders Brodin, Scientific American, 25 June 2024 The museum’s courtyard will be buzzing with activities like egg-drop experiments, rocket launches and simulations of Mars colonization on the engineering and tech side. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, 8 June 2024 Jamestown residents likely turned to Indigenous dogs as a food source several times during the first 10 years of their Virginia colonization, according to a new study in American Antiquity. Paul Smaglik, Discover Magazine, 22 May 2024 The Coalition also points out that human activities since colonization are the main causes behind plummeting stocks of wild Pacific salmon, and that First Nations people have had to take up salmon farming just to maintain some semblance of the resource. Dac Collins, Outdoor Life, 27 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for colonization 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'colonization.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1744, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of colonization was in 1744

Dictionary Entries Near colonization

Cite this Entry

“Colonization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on colonization

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