colonize

verb
col·o·nize | \ˈkä-lə-ˌnīz \
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

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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

Forests were cleared for farms; invasive species like pigs and guavas were introduced and have now also colonized large swaths of the islands. Willy Blackmore, latimes.com, "Saving the world one plant at a time in 'The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World's Rarest Species' by Carlos Magdalena," 6 Apr. 2018 But there are still so many minutes of the day that haven’t yet been colonized by screen time: your morning jog, a no-laptops meeting or class, a ski run, a weekend home improvement project. Scott Kirsner, BostonGlobe.com, "Can these ‘smart glasses’ make cyclists go faster?," 6 Jan. 2018 That’s what makes the pols and the public realize that humanity has all its eggs in one basket, and needs to colonize space. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: When History Abruptly Takes a Detour," 12 July 2018 Image Before Europeans began to colonize the Americas about 500 years ago, the land, north and south, was populated with people who had been here for thousands of years. James Gorman, New York Times, "The Lost Dogs of the Americas," 5 July 2018 In 2014, Mary Robinette Kowal earned a Hugo Award for her novelette The Lady Astronaut of Mars, set in an alternate history in which humanity is prompted to colonize outer space after a devastating meteor strike that destroys Washington, DC. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "12 fantastic science fiction and fantasy novels that you should check out this July," 1 July 2018 Menéndez’s mission to colonize South Florida withdrew after three years of rising hostility and assassination plots that ended in the Calusa setting fire to Mound Key. National Geographic, "Ancient Native American King's House Rediscovered in Florida," 13 June 2018 This plant has been reported to colonize in certain rather rare but favorable environments of limestone outcroppings and dry creek beds. Neil Sperry, star-telegram, "The vivacious and venerable vitex is a plant you should know (and grow)," 7 June 2018 Capable of launching spacecraft to Mars — Musk’s ultimate ambition is to colonize the red planet — the BFR will replace not only the Falcon 9, but the brawny Falcon Heavy. Washington Post, "SpaceX’s upgraded rocket soars with satellite for Bangladesh," 11 May 2018

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

12 Oct 2018

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 \
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 \
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 \ noun

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Comments on colonize

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