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 Certainly, most people who vow to emigrate over election results ultimately do not. Ben Sales, sun-sentinel.com, "Ahead of election, growing number of U.S. Jews consider leaving," 1 Oct. 2020 The rise in hostility has led many to live in anger and fear or even to emigrate from the country. NBC News, "Ambassadors appeal for acceptance of LGBTQ people in Poland," 28 Sep. 2020 The rise in hostility has led many to live in anger and fear or even to emigrate from the country. Vanessa Gera, chicagotribune.com, "After ambassadors push Poland to protect LGBT rights, its leaders push back: ‘Nobody needs to teach us tolerance’," 28 Sep. 2020 Many Lebanese citizens are trying to leave the country, with Google searches for information on how to emigrate hitting a 10-year peak in the weeks since the tragedy. New York Times, "In Lebanon, Macron Dangles Sanctions to Push for Change," 1 Sep. 2020 The report found that there are 10,000 to 14,000 Jews waiting to emigrate from Ethiopia, and their arrival will be spread over several years. sun-sentinel.com, "Ukraine and Israel urge pilgrims to Uman to stay home," 18 Aug. 2020 For as the world’s largest democracy becomes more educated and urban, and as more of its people emigrate, the custom is changing. The Economist, "For better, for worse Smriti Mundhra both celebrates and questions Indian cultural values," 12 Aug. 2020 That struggle taught her the necessary resilience to emigrate to the United States, work as a flight attendant, help her husband run a small business and give back to the community through civic engagement. Gustavo Solis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Five candidates vie for two council seats in National City," 4 Aug. 2020 Hong Kong citizens to permanently emigrate from the city. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "Hong Kongers are suddenly the world’s most sought-after emigrants," 3 July 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

4 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emigrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emigrate. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for emigrate


How to pronounce emigrate (audio)

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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