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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web For Kolla, a software engineer who emigrated from India in 2007, Thatikonda’s life represented the hopes of many Indians. Noor Adatia, Dallas News, 12 May 2023 Gershkovich was born to Jewish parents who emigrated from the Soviet Union, where Jewish people were subjected to persecution and repression, in 1979. Oren Oppenheim, ABC News, 9 May 2023 Klima emigrated from communist Czechoslovakia in 1985, four years before the collapse of the Iron Curtain. BostonGlobe.com, 4 May 2023 In 1993, when Grinberg was 16, his family emigrated to the United States. Menachem Wecker, Sun Sentinel, 28 Apr. 2023 One reason: rats March 22, 2023 Advertisement The Starbucks organizer (Eric Thayer/For The Times) Veronica Gonzalez, the daughter of a custodian who emigrated from Mexico, worked two jobs: at Dodger Stadium overseeing food service workers, and at a nearby Starbucks supervising baristas. Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2023 My partner’s parents, on the other hand, emigrated from the Philippines in the 1960s. Samantha Vincenty, Good Housekeeping, 19 Apr. 2023 Cornish and her parents emigrated from Jamaica in the early eighties, at the height of Boston’s busing crisis. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2023 At one point on his walking tour, Sebald visited Michael Hamburger, a poet and translator who had emigrated from Germany in 1933, at his home on the outskirts of Middleton. László F. Földényi, Harper’s Magazine , 13 Mar. 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 27 May. 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
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