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 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 In November 2019, after a month of enormous demonstrations in Lebanon, our president, Michel Aoun, declared that those who don’t like how the country was run could emigrate. Kim Ghattas, The Atlantic, "Lessons From a Place Where the Center Ground is Gone," 1 Nov. 2020 At the story’s end, Whateley — a name that resonates with Lovecraft aficionados — plans to emigrate to New England and there perfect his experiments in life extension. Michael Dirda Critic, Washington Post, "/For Halloween: a critic’s pick of macabre treats for your library," 27 Oct. 2020 Her son is pursuing a doctorate in Switzerland and her daughter, an interior designer, plans to emigrate to Canada. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "The Beirut Blast Shattered Her Masterpieces. Now, the Rebuilding Starts.," 16 Oct. 2020 Though the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany was still four years away, the members of the Circle began to look for opportunities to emigrate. Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker, "Philosophy in the Shadow of Nazism," 12 Oct. 2020 Sarah was the baby of the family, the youngest of Lance and Jennifer Cooper’s four children, and only 3 years old when the couple decided to emigrate from Jamaica in 1980. Geoff Edgers, Washington Post, "Sarah Cooper became famous mocking Trump.," 15 Oct. 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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emigrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emigrate. Accessed 30 Nov. 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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