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

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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 Amidst poverty and recent natural disasters -- and with a friendlier face these days in the White House -- the time had come to emigrate to the US. Natalie Gallón, CNN, "Migrants face danger as numbers headed toward US grow," 1 Mar. 2021 Following the drawdown of the embassy in 2017, consular services in Havana have been all but cut off for Cubans seeking visas to visit or emigrate to the United States. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, "Will US diplomats finally return to Havana, after a rash of mystery injuries?," 19 Feb. 2021 As the family has grown, and as more relatives emigrate from Vietnam, the business needs to expand to provide more jobs. Ian Mcnulty, NOLA.com, "Lilly’s Cafe will open second Magazine Street restaurant with 'the same heart, more soup'," 14 Jan. 2021 One contributing factor may be that individuals who emigrate from other countries to the U.S. are highly self-motivated and intrinsically less likely to commit crime. Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American, "Undocumented Immigrants Are Half as Likely to Be Arrested for Violent Crimes as U.S.-Born Citizens," 7 Dec. 2020 In geological time just a few fractions of a second ago, in human time 170 years ago, a farmer in Norway decided to emigrate across a wide ocean. Michael Nesset, Star Tribune, "Just lucky, I guess," 25 Nov. 2020 Trump has slashed aid to Central America, but Biden plans a major increase in economic assistance to the region aimed at reducing inequalities and lessening motivations to emigrate. Patrick J. Mcdonnell, Los Angeles Times, "On Latin America, Biden’s brand of diplomacy will be a major shift from Trump," 15 Nov. 2020 Then, there’s the scene in which the housekeeper at the ranch, Frieda (Monika Grossmann), reveals that an entire village of German Jews was able to emigrate to safety with Mankiewicz’s aid. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“Mank” and the Making of “Citizen Kane”," 13 Nov. 2020 Now, as fears of a second wave loom large, disillusioned young doctors continue to emigrate. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Sisi Promised Egypt Better Health Care. Virus Exposed His True Priority.," 11 Nov. 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for emigrate

Last Updated

15 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Emigrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emigrate. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for emigrate



English Language Learners Definition of emigrate

: to leave a country or region to live elsewhere


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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