col·​o·​niz·​er | \ ˈkä-lə-ˌnī-zər How to pronounce colonizer (audio) \
variants: also British coloniser
plural colonizers

Definition of colonizer

: one that colonizes : an individual or entity that establishes a colony or colonies: such as
a : a nation or state that takes control of a people or area as an extension of state power the country's relationship with its former colonizer
b see usage paragraph below : a person who migrates to and settles in an inhabited or uninhabited area Almost all early explorers and colonizers marveled at the natural abundance they found in the Americas, a biodiversity at odds with the deforestation and extinctions that the Europeans had already wrought in most of their own continent.— Alan Taylor Lemur was the Roman name for the spirits of the dead … . The lemurs of Madagascar, an island of southeastern Africa, were named by French colonizers.International Wildlife
c(1) biology : an organism that establishes a population in a new area or habitat … debate among scientists trying to determine how tube worms, clams and other colonizers of hydrothermal vents and cold seeps arrive and persist in their ephemeral habitats.— Julie Zeidner Russo Seaweeds tend to be the first colonizers on shorelines …— Mark Carwardine
(2) medical : a microorganism that multiplies in or on a host or an inanimate object or surface Identification of the typical flora in the postoperative ethmoid sinus cavity, as well as a determination of the type of bacteria expected to be colonizers rather than pathogens, would also assist the physician in selecting an appropriate antibiotic.— Neil Bhattacharyya and Harsha V. Gopal Unnoticed biofilm colonizers are present in ventilator connectors and humidifiers, which may not be removed by routine methods.— Bipassa Chakraborty et al.

Usage of Colonist and Colonizer

Colonist and colonizer both have meanings closely tied to the word colonialism in its use referring to domination of a foreign people or area. Colonist, which comes directly from the noun colony, is the more common—and usually more neutral—term. Colonizer, which comes from the verb colonize, is used especially in contexts in which the exploitative nature of colonialism is being discussed or evoked; in phrases like "colonizer mindset/mentality" it implies a benefit from or even active participation in that exploitation.

First Known Use of colonizer

1766, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of colonizer was in 1766

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Cite this Entry

“Colonizer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2022.

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