colony

noun
col·​o·​ny | \ ˈkä-lə-nē How to pronounce colony (audio) \
plural colonies

Definition of colony

1a : 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
3a : 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
4a : 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

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Synonyms for colony

Synonyms

plantation

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Examples of colony in a Sentence

Massachusetts was one of the original 13 British colonies that later became the United States. a former French colony in Africa

Recent Examples on the Web

Commercial honeybee keepers across the U.S. lost almost 41 percent of their colonies in the year that ended March 31, according to a survey conducted by the non-profit Bee Informed Partnership. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Nature takes its course: Bees flourish after heavy rains, keeping removal companies busy," 8 July 2019 His comments were greeted by outrage in Beijing, which has previously suggested the treaty -- which established a guarantor and observer status for the UK over its former colony -- is no longer applicable. James Griffiths, CNN, "Diplomatic spat between UK and China after Beijing slams London's 'colonial' attitude to Hong Kong," 4 July 2019 Under normal circumstances, perhaps one of the nest’s queens will be alive to start her colony afresh when the weather warms. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Alabamians, Beware the Wasp ‘Super Nest’," 1 July 2019 However, beekeepers lost about 40% of their colonies just this past winter, according to a survey from the Bee Informed Partnership. Sarah Min, CBS News, "Bee thieves find sweet rewards in California's almond groves," 27 June 2019 In 1496, Spain set up its first colony in the Western Hemisphere in Santo Domingo. Annika Hom, BostonGlobe.com, "A Dominican Republic primer," 19 June 2019 Watch an ant rip apart a spiderweb to rescue a sibling Ants are famous for putting themselves at risk for the wellbeing of their colony, but desert harvester ants are especially heroic. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: The science of false confessions, transforming blood types, and Brazil’s war on drugs," 14 June 2019 The Rhineland was occupied and demilitarized, and German colonies were taken over by the new League of Nations. National Geographic, "How the Treaty of Versailles ended WWI and started WWII," 31 May 2019 In 2012, a colony of a similar species was found in Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Fireflies Are Bringing A Rare Light Show To The Mountains This Month," 10 May 2019

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.

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First Known Use of colony

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for colony

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

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Statistics for colony

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for colony

The first known use of colony was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for colony

colony

noun

English Language Learners Definition of colony

: 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

noun
col·​o·​ny | \ ˈkä-lə-nē How to pronounce colony (audio) \
plural colonies

Kids Definition of colony

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

colony

noun
col·​o·​ny | \ ˈkäl-ə-nē How to pronounce colony (audio) \
plural colonies

Medical Definition of colony

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

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Comments on colony

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