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 Krakow quickly becomes an administrative center for Nazi colonization. Matt Thompson, Spin, 10 Sep. 2023 American colonization in the Philippines created this route for nurses to come to the United States, while draining the Philippines of its own medical professionals and depriving the children left behind of their mothers, exported to take care of others around the world. Viet Thanh Nguyen, The New Yorker, 9 Sep. 2023 His novels have often stemmed from his belief that the legacy of colonization has been played down. Constant Méheut, New York Times, 28 Aug. 2023 Webb talked about making a safe environment to share traditional knowledge, after hundreds of years of messages from colonization that devalued people and modern-day messages that do the same. Christina McDermott, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Aug. 2023 There’s been healthy discourse about the morality of space tourism, with many skeptics raising concerns about the expansion of space exploration potentially turning into something that could look scarily akin to intergalactic colonization. Ineye Komonibo,, 11 Aug. 2023 Tobacco, the main export crop since colonization, strips the land of nutrients and is sensitive to drought. Xanthe Scharff, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 July 2023 There were trade routes across North America before colonization. Hallie Golden, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Aug. 2023 The dating has also been informed by Bidayuh oral histories and was used to record the experience of territorial violence and colonization in the region. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

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 25 Sep. 2023.

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