im·​mi·​grant | \ ˈi-mə-grənt How to pronounce immigrant (audio) \

Definition of immigrant

: one that immigrates: such as
a : a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence
b : a plant or animal that becomes established in an area where it was previously unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from immigrant

immigrant adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for immigrant


emigrant, émigré (also emigré), in-migrant, incomer [chiefly British], migrant, out-migrant, settler



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

immigrant or emigrant?

Both of these words come from the Latin migrare (“to move from one place to another”), and both have definitions in English that hew closely to their etymological roots, but there is a definite difference between how you would use each one. Emigrant is used in reference to the country that has been left (“an emigrant from Canada”), while immigrant is used in reference the country that one is destined for (“an immigrant to Spain”).

Examples of immigrant in a Sentence

Millions of immigrants came to America from Europe in the 19th century. The city has a large immigrant population.

Recent Examples on the Web

Italian-Americans have a long and proud legacy in the movies, and a new exhibit pays tribute to their contributions to the business through the eyes of an early pioneering immigrant. Aerin Reed & Kathleen Knowles, Town & Country, "A New Exhibit at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence Highlights the Designer's Life in Hollywood," 5 July 2018 My mother, an immigrant, made the art of voting a central pride in her life and taught me to value this right. Marie Claire, "Why Your Vote Is More Important This Year Than Ever Before," 16 Oct. 2018 My mother, an Asian immigrant, didn’t believe in the idea of paying someone to listen to all of your problems. Vanessa Willhoughby, Allure, "The Reality of Navigating the Mental Health System as a Black Woman," 13 Oct. 2018 Yara plays Natasha Kingsley, an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica who is about to be deported due to her status. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton's "The Sun is Also a Star"," 6 Feb. 2019 The president advocated for a border wall by pointing to a case in which an undocumented immigrant allegedly killed a police officer. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "President Donald Trump Tweeted Incessantly Over the Holiday Break," 2 Jan. 2019 These policies are diametrically opposed to the values that Chobani Yogurt CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, an immigrant from Turkey, has tried to impart to the public. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Companies used to stay quiet about politics. In 2018, social causes became integral to their branding.," 17 Dec. 2018 That is because Mollie Tibbetts was killed by an undocumented immigrant. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Mollie Tibbetts's Murder Proves We Need the Violence Against Women Act More Than Ever," 30 Aug. 2018 An undocumented immigrant died in sweltering heat Friday in the desert near Calexico after he was abandoned by smugglers who brought him and his cousin into the country, Border Patrol officials said Monday. Alex Riggins,, "Abandoned by smugglers, undocumented immigrant dies in Calexico heat," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'immigrant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of immigrant

1789, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about immigrant

Share immigrant

Statistics for immigrant

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for immigrant

The first known use of immigrant was in 1789

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for immigrant



English Language Learners Definition of immigrant

: a person who comes to a country to live there


im·​mi·​grant | \ ˈi-mi-grənt How to pronounce immigrant (audio) \

Kids Definition of immigrant

: a person who comes to a country to live there

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on immigrant

What made you want to look up immigrant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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