im·​mi·​grant | \ ˈi-mə-grənt \

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

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Other Words from immigrant

immigrant adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for immigrant


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



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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

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 Her son Brandon Mendoza, a Mesa, Ariz., police officer, was killed in 2014 in a head-on collision with a car driven by an intoxicated undocumented immigrant. New York Times, "For Trump and ‘Angel Families,’ a Mutually Beneficial Bond," 4 July 2018 Somaraju, 49, an immigrant from India, and a resident of Catonsville for almost 25 years, became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 2017. Cody Boteler,, "A civic journey: From immigrant to citizen to voter," 2 July 2018 So why not watch a show that celebrates immigrants instead of stereotyping them? Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Skip Trump's Prime-Time Immigration Address With 7 These Other Things You Can Watch Instead," 8 Jan. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of immigrant

1789, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for immigrant

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for immigrant

The first known use of immigrant was in 1789

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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 \

Kids Definition of immigrant

: a person who comes to a country to live there

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Comments on immigrant

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