colony

noun col·o·ny \ ˈkä-lə-nē \

Definition of colony

plural colonies
1 a :a body of people living in a new territory but retaining ties with the parent state
  • a colony of settlers
b :the territory inhabited by such a body
  • the 13 British colonies in America
2 :a distinguishable localized population within a species
  • a colony of termites
  • bird colonies on the island
3 a :a circumscribed mass of microorganisms usually growing in or on a solid medium
  • colonies of bacteria
b :the aggregation of zooids of a compound animal
  • coral colonies
4 a :a group of individuals or things with common characteristics or interests situated in close association
  • an artist colony
  • a nudist colony
b :the section occupied by such a group
5 :a group of persons institutionalized away from others
  • a leper colony
  • a penal colony
; also :the land or buildings occupied by such a group

Examples of colony in a Sentence

  1. Massachusetts was one of the original 13 British colonies that later became the United States.

  2. a former French colony in Africa

Recent Examples of colony from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'colony.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of colony

Middle English colonie, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin colonia, from colonus farmer, colonist, from colere to cultivate — more at wheel



COLONY Defined for English Language Learners

colony

noun

Definition of colony for English Language Learners

  • : an area that is controlled by or belongs to a country and is usually far away from it

  • : a group of people sent by a country to live in such a colony

  • : a group of plants or animals living or growing in one place


COLONY Defined for Kids

colony

noun col·o·ny \ ˈkä-lə-nē \

Definition of colony for Students

plural colonies
1 :a distant territory belonging to or under the control of a nation
2 :a group of people sent out by a government to a new territory
3 :a group of living things of one kind living together
  • a colony of ants
4 :a group of people with common qualities or interests located in close association
  • an art colony

Medical Dictionary

colony

noun col·o·ny \ ˈkäl-ə-nē \

medical Definition of colony

plural colonies
:a circumscribed mass of microorganisms usually growing in or on a solid medium


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