de·​col·​o·​nize | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈkä-lə-ˌnīz How to pronounce decolonize (audio) \
decolonized; decolonizing; decolonizes

Definition of decolonize

transitive verb

: to free from colonial status

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from decolonize

decolonization \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌkä-​lə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce decolonization (audio) \ noun

Examples of decolonize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Vietnam braided opposition to communism, itself a tenet of Cold War conflict, with democratic state-building in a decolonizing region. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "World War III Is an Irresistible Meme," 5 Jan. 2020 The call to decolonize science, as in the case of other disciplines such as literature, can encourage us to rethink the dominant image that scientific knowledge is the work of white men. Rohan Deb Roy, Smithsonian, "Science Still Bears the Fingerprints of Colonialism," 10 Apr. 2018 Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, co-chairwoman of the Independence for Guam Task Force, told the Guam Pacific Daily News that the ruling is disappointing, but that efforts to decolonize will continue. Washington Post, "Court: Non-native Guam residents can vote on status with US," 31 July 2019 There’s a term for this process: decolonizing my mind. Melissa Pandika, The Cut, "Before I Embraced My Brownness, I Tried to Lighten My Skin," 31 Jan. 2018 Then, after World War II, with the growing movement to decolonize various places around the world, particularly in the Caribbean and Africa and South America, that also had an impact on Puerto Rico. Lily Rothman, Time, "Where Hurricane Maria Fits in the History of Puerto Rico," 28 Sep. 2017 A: Decolonizing my mind has been a continual process of rethinking the values that guide my actions. Lisa Deaderick,, "Healing hearts and souls through her art," 24 June 2017 Q: What has the process of decolonizing come to look like for you in practice? Lisa Deaderick,, "Healing hearts and souls through her art," 24 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of decolonize

1851, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about decolonize

Time Traveler for decolonize

Time Traveler

The first known use of decolonize was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Statistics for decolonize

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decolonize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on decolonize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decolonize

Comments on decolonize

What made you want to look up decolonize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!