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em·​i·​grant ˈe-mi-grənt How to pronounce emigrant (audio)
: one who emigrates
: a migrant plant or animal


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: departing or having departed from a country to settle elsewhere

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an emigrant and an immigrant?

Immigrant and emigrant both refer to a person leaving their own country for another. However, immigrant (and its verb form _immigrate) typically stress the country going to, while emigrant (and its verb emigrate) stress the country coming from. One is an immigrant to a new country, and an emigrant from an old one. See here for more on the difference between emigrant and immigrant.

Is emigrant a noun or a verb?

Emigrant is a noun, meaning "one who leaves one's place of residence or country to live elsewhere." It is synonymous with émigré, a word that is especially used of a person who has left for political reasons. The verb form of the word is emigrate.

Does emigrant imply illegality?

Both emigrant and immigrant refer to a person who has moved from one country to another, usually in permanent or semi-permanent fashion. Neither word by itself has any connotations of illegality.

Examples of emigrant in a Sentence

Noun Millions of European emigrants came to America in the 19th century. a city with emigrants from many lands
Recent Examples on the Web
The museum is highly interactive, with videos and on-screen reenactors telling the story of Irish emigrants, both famous and infamous. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 1 June 2023 But where exactly does resemblance lie for me, an emigrant who never went back to her birthplace? Maggie Levantovskaya, Longreads, 31 Aug. 2023 Alfred Milnes was born in Bradford, England, in 1844 and came to Utah in 1854 with the help of the church’s Perpetual Emigrating Fund, a revolving account that lent travel money to Latter-day Saint emigrants, who then were asked to repay their loans in Utah to help later-coming pioneers. The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 July 2023 This shelf-stable snack served as an incredible source of protein among emigrants traveling along The Overland Trail during the mid-19th century. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 17 July 2023 The film tells the story of two children who, in order to escape the misery of post-war Naples, face a challenging boat crossing to America, as was the case for so many Italian emigrants at the time. Pino Gagliardi, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 July 2023 But the relationship between Lili and Lyle—both of whom are emigrants in jeopardy from the hegemonic culture, albeit in different ways—is intuitive, rather than overtly drawn. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 21 Apr. 2022 Because a large number of the emigrants are young, the passing of local knowledge from experienced practitioners to the next generation is imperiled. Javier E. Piñero, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 May 2023 There’s electrocution, a biochemical weapon at risk of falling into the wrong hands, mention of family members and friends dying, reference to Aztec human sacrifice, an asthma inhaler and emigrants fleeing their country by raft. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2023
Waltz and Dafoe are wily and meticulous as emigrant and southern-rebel types, both seen leaning back, crossing their legs like Henry Fonda’s contemplative Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine. Armond White, National Review, 30 Dec. 2022 Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union then, and the senders were emigrant relatives or pen pals from places such as Australia, Poland, or Russia. CNN, 27 Jan. 2022 On September 11, 1857, 50 to 60 Latter-Day Saint militiamen aided by Native American allies killed 120 in an emigrant wagon train headed to California. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, 17 Oct. 2021 In a remarkable commitment by a foreign government, Driscoll’s salary is being paid for the year by Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Department through its emigrant support program. Washington Post, 17 Apr. 2021 One of the most unusual political leaders during the era after the Civil War was William Hines Furbush, a Black soldier, photographer, emigrant to Liberia, state legislator and the first sheriff of Lee County. Tom Dillard, Arkansas Online, 14 Dec. 2020 Lebanon, a country of 5 million, takes massive pride in its emigrant community – including the many successful businessmen and celebrities of Lebanese heritage. Zeina Karam, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 July 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'emigrant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1735, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1773, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of emigrant was in 1735

Dictionary Entries Near emigrant

Cite this Entry

“Emigrant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emigrant. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: one that emigrates
: a migrant plant or animal
emigrant adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on emigrant

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