colonize

verb
col·​o·​nize | \ ˈkä-lə-ˌnīz How to pronounce colonize (audio) \
colonized; colonizing

Definition of colonize

transitive verb

1a : to establish a colony in or on or of colonize an island
b : to establish in a colony the rights of colonized people
2 : to send illegal or irregularly qualified voters into colonizing doubtful districts
3 : to infiltrate with usually subversive militants for propaganda and strategy reasons colonize industries

intransitive verb

: to make or establish a colony : settle

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Other Words from colonize

colonizer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for colonize

Synonyms

people, populate, settle

Antonyms

depopulate, unpeople

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Examples of colonize in a Sentence

The area was colonized in the 18th century. Weeds quickly colonized the field. The island had been colonized by plants and animals.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In a landmark ruling in October, South Korea’s top court ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay 100 million won ($88,000) each to four plaintiffs forced to work for the company when Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45. Washington Post, "Japan to restrict exports to South Korea, citing less trust," 1 July 2019 Engineering microbes to improve eye health The first step toward developing such therapies is figuring out how bacteria colonize the eye. Scientific American, "Meet the Eye Microbiome," 23 June 2019 After colonizing Africa, the wormy shocktroops of infestation crept stealthily on. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "Ravenous armyworms are eating their way across China," 20 June 2019 As the Polynesians colonized various Pacific islands, tiny rodent explorers settled with them. Charlie Hamilton James, National Geographic, "How rats became an inescapable part of city living," 17 June 2019 The Outer Worlds trades the post-apocalypse for a brighter future where humans have colonized the stars. Time, "Missed the E3 News? Here Are the Games and Consoles We're Most Excited About," 11 June 2019 That’s a scenario that fosters diversification, as seen when species colonize islands today. Quanta Magazine, "Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells," 9 Apr. 2019 With time, the sap oozes down the bark and eventually turns black because it is colonized by an ever present fungus with the very appropriate name of sooty mold. oregonlive.com, "Ask an Expert: Selectively thin branches, rather than ‘top’ a Raywood ash," 14 June 2019 Between 1820 and 1860, for every African-American colonized in Liberia nearly one hundred were driven from the Upper South to the cotton and sugar fields of the Deep South. Nicholas Guyatt, The New York Review of Books, "How Proslavery Was the Constitution?," 6 June 2019

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

1622, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for colonize

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for colonize

The first known use of colonize was in 1622

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More Definitions for colonize

colonize

verb

English Language Learners Definition of colonize

: to create a colony in or on (a place) : to take control of (an area) and send people to live there
: to move into and live in (a place) as a new type of plant or animal

colonize

verb
col·​o·​nize | \ ˈkä-lə-ˌnīz How to pronounce colonize (audio) \
colonized; colonizing

Kids Definition of colonize

1 : to establish a colony in or on
2 : to settle in a colony

colonize

verb
col·​o·​nize | \ ˈkäl-ə-ˌnīz How to pronounce colonize (audio) \
colonized; colonizing

Medical Definition of colonize

transitive verb

1 : to establish a colony in or on the parasitic roundworms…have succeeded in colonizing a great variety of hosts— W. H. Dowdeswell
2 : to isolate in supervised groups

intransitive verb

of microorganisms : to become established in a habitat (as a host or a wound) these bacteria in turn colonize in other parts of the body— R. A. Runnells

Other Words from colonize

colonization \ ˌkäl-​ə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce colonization (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on colonize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with colonize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for colonize

Spanish Central: Translation of colonize

Nglish: Translation of colonize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of colonize for Arabic Speakers

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