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

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

Noun 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 In the decades after 1871, professionals from across the German-speaking world poured into Alsace to take the positions left by the French emigrants — did Herr Mayer’s rat king function as an unwitting and grotesque totem of their new entwinement? Adrian Daub, Longreads, "All Hail the Rat King," 13 Dec. 2019 British emigrants now avoided Barbados, making its demographic change even more dramatic. Steven M. Opal, Time, "When Mosquitoes Brought Yellow Fever to the Caribbean, They Also Spread Slavery," 11 Oct. 2019 Large Ship Line #3: Holland America Line As its name indicates, Holland America is a cruise line that was established in 1873 to primarily ferry passengers, many of whom were emigrants, between the Netherlands and the United States. Stefanie Waldek, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cruise Lines in the World: 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 7 Oct. 2019 Pro-slavery emigrants also poured into the territory from Missouri. Jason Willick, WSJ, "What’s the Matter With North Dakota?," 8 Oct. 2018 Swedish emigrants Karl-Oskar, wife Kristina and family struggle in 1850 Minnesota. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 The high cost of housing is now a barrier to inward investment, to emigrants returning with skills, to people hoping to start families and who want to move. New York Times, "Housing Crisis Grips Ireland a Decade After Property Bubble Burst," 8 Aug. 2019 In Ethiopia the tide may reach 1.5 million people—more than 15 times the emigrants now straggling annually through the Afar Triangle to reach the Middle East. Paul Salopek, National Geographic, "A storyteller chronicles the mass migrations that define our age," 17 July 2019 After all, a sizable number of their own parents came from China -- in the 1940s, a huge wave of mainland emigrants fled the Chinese Civil War to Hong Kong. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Family feuds and social media spats: The generational divide that's splitting apart Hong Kong," 9 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for emigrant

Time Traveler

The first known use of emigrant was in 1735

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Statistics for emigrant

Last Updated

18 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Emigrant.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emigrant. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for emigrant


How to pronounce emigrant (audio)

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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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).


to express in a more acceptable way

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