em·​i·​grant | \ ˈe-mi-grənt How to pronounce emigrant (audio) \

Definition of emigrant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who emigrates
2 : a migrant plant or animal



Definition of emigrant (Entry 2 of 2)

: departing or having departed from a country to settle elsewhere

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Synonyms & Antonyms for emigrant

Synonyms: Noun

émigré (also emigré), immigrant, incomer [chiefly British], in-migrant, migrant, out-migrant, settler

Antonyms: Noun


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immigrant or emigrant?

Both of these words come from the Latin migrare (“to move from one place to another”), and both have definitions in English that hew closely to their etymological roots, but there is a definite difference between how you would use each one. Emigrant is used in reference to the country that has been left (“an emigrant from Canada”), while immigrant is used in reference the country that one is destined for (“an immigrant to Spain”).

Examples of emigrant in a Sentence


Millions of European emigrants came to America in the 19th century. a city teeming with emigrants from many lands

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Edinburgh The Scots, like the Irish, are a small but globalized nation; the philosophers of Enlightenment were also the engineers, soldiers and emigrants of Empire. Dominic Green, WSJ, "The National Museum of Scotland Completes a Perfect Revamp," 26 Feb. 2019 Dozens of YouTube videos are being circulated by Hong Kong emigrants touting closer, more affordable places to live, such as Malaysia and Taiwan, where migration has also doubled in the past year. Paolo Bosonin, WSJ, "Hopeless in Hong Kong: China’s Squeeze Triggers Talk of a New Exodus," 26 Dec. 2018 Just as important, more than half of this year's emigrants are actually foreigners, many of them Eastern European construction workers returning home after the collapse of the Irish property bubble. Newsweek, "Amazing Photos of Bioluminescent Phytoplankton," 14 Mar. 2018 Other emigrants established themselves in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela—countries that were strategically located near the Panama Canal and shipping lanes in the Caribbean and South Atlantic. Nicholas Reynolds, WSJ, "‘The Tango War’ Review: The Southern Theater," 24 Oct. 2018 My wife, the daughter of Italian emigrants, grew up in Geneva and attended the French-speaking compulsory schools. WSJ, "Marketing French as a World Language, or Not," 21 June 2018 The remote posting served to isolate John D. Lee, who bore the brunt of the blame for the Mountain Meadow Massacre in which 120 emigrants on their way to California were killed. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Lees Ferry: Gateway to Grand Canyon rafting and the Colorado River," 9 July 2018 The maps accompanying the reports furnished emigrants with an accurate road map for the journeys that thousands would take west in the 1840s and 1850s. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 Negar Djavadi is, with her story of a family of Iranian emigrants to Paris. New York Times, "10 New Books We Recommend This Week," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emigrant.' 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 emigrant


1735, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1773, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for emigrant

Last Updated

8 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for emigrant

The first known use of emigrant was in 1735

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More Definitions for emigrant



English Language Learners Definition of emigrant

: a person who leaves a country or region to live in another one : a person who emigrates


em·​i·​grant | \ ˈe-mi-grənt How to pronounce emigrant (audio) \

Kids Definition of emigrant

: a person who leaves one country or region to live in another

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More from Merriam-Webster on emigrant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for emigrant

Spanish Central: Translation of emigrant

Nglish: Translation of emigrant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of emigrant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on emigrant

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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