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

intransitive verb

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

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 emigrate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Miller’s family first emigrated from Ukraine in 1912 to find work, later going back to Europe before returning to the United States and eventually settling in San Diego. Lauren J. Mapp, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Nov. 2023 An Iranian Jew, her parents emigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. Ruth Umoh, Fortune, 22 Nov. 2023 Her mother, Imelda Saucedo, emigrated from Durango, Mexico to California in the 1970s. Soudi Jiménez, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Subramanyam’s parents emigrated from India, while Qarni is Pakistani American. Antonio Olivo, Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2023 Police arrested Haskell on Thursday after a homeless man found a woman's headless torso in a garbage bag inside a dumpster a few miles from the family's home, where both in-laws lived after emigrating from China. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 13 Nov. 2023 His parents had settled in Pittsburgh after emigrating from a small town in what is now Slovakia near the Carpathian Mountains. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Nov. 2023 Washington made no special provision for Hong Kongers who wanted to emigrate to the United States. Timothy McLaughlin, The Atlantic, 4 Nov. 2023 Related Stories Non Issue draws on the pair’s own experience to tell a fictional story of a mixed Israeli-Palestinian couple who decide to emigrate to Berlin. Ilaria Ravarino, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1766, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of emigrate was in 1766


Dictionary Entries Near emigrate

Cite this Entry

“Emigrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emigrate. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


em·​i·​grate ˈem-ə-ˌgrāt How to pronounce emigrate (audio)
emigrated; emigrating
: to leave a country or region to live elsewhere
emigration noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!