em·​i·​grate | \ ˈe-mə-ˌgrāt How to pronounce emigrate (audio) \
emigrated; emigrating

Definition of emigrate

intransitive verb

: to leave one's place of residence or country to live elsewhere emigrated from Canada to the United States

Frequently Asked Questions About emigrate

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 emigrate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Thousands would emigrate, but most would not be able to leave. Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2022 When the Soviet Union began buckling to pressure to let Jews emigrate in the 1970s, many took the opportunity to do so, even those mathematicians and engineers who had achieved the heights allowed to them. Gal Beckerman, The Atlantic, 27 Feb. 2022 A century ago, Jews fled widespread antisemitic attacks in cities like Chisinau and Odessa — pogroms that helped spur early Zionists to emigrate independently to Palestine. New York Times, 7 Mar. 2022 My parents left China and my grandparents in the 2000s to emigrate to American. Sophia Li, The Week, 21 Mar. 2022 Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, however, pogroms — riots incited to terrorize and kill Jews — led many across the then-Russian Empire to emigrate. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 His father, a mathematician, and his mother, an engineer, chose to stay in Ukraine while many other Jews departed for the U.S. or Israel when the former Soviet Union permitted them to emigrate. James Hookway, WSJ, 1 Mar. 2022 The film features archival material from which Évora emerges as a de facto community leader, who fed and sheltered those in need on the impoverished islands that drove many of its people to emigrate looking for a better life. Manori Ravindran, Variety, 28 Feb. 2022 Several filmmakers, including Sahraa Karimi, the former head of national cinema body Afghan Film, were able to emigrate to Europe thanks to intervention from the Slovakian, Turkish and Ukrainian governments. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of emigrate

1766, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for emigrate

Latin emigratus, past participle of emigrare, from e- + migrare to migrate

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Time Traveler for emigrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of emigrate was in 1766

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Emigrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emigrate. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for emigrate


em·​i·​grate | \ ˈe-mə-ˌgrāt How to pronounce emigrate (audio) \
emigrated; emigrating

Kids Definition of emigrate

: to leave one country or region to live in another My grandparents emigrated from China.


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