im·​mi·​grant ˈi-mə-grənt How to pronounce immigrant (audio)
: one that immigrates: such as
: a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence
: a plant or animal that becomes established in an area where it was previously unknown
immigrant adjective

Did you know?

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”).

Example Sentences

Millions of immigrants came to America from Europe in the 19th century. The city has a large immigrant population.
Recent Examples on the Web Monterey Park’s transformation to a predominantly Asian city was the brainchild of Fred Hsieh, a Chinese immigrant who was also a savvy real estate developer. Deepa Bharath,, 26 Jan. 2023 The box office-shattering film about a Chinese immigrant swept up in a wild, cross-universe adventure is currently available to stream on Showtime or Paramount+. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 25 Jan. 2023 As a Chinese immigrant with permanent resident status, Yu said this legislation would negatively impact him and his wife, fellow Houston resident Claire Liang. Kennedy Sessions, Chron, 23 Jan. 2023 The influence of Mabus and Warren was applauded at Saturday’s ceremony by current Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, a Cuban immigrant. San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Jan. 2023 For Thea Pham, a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant, sending money to her family is also a priority. Isabella Simonetti, New York Times, 20 Jan. 2023 By 2002, a skilled immigrant could get a visa without a job offer. ETHIOPIA. National Geographic, 13 Jan. 2023 In the film, based on a real case, Rama (Kayije Kagame), a novelist, observes the trial of Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanda), a Senegalese immigrant accused of killing her infant daughter. Mark Olsenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2023 Michelle Yeoh plays a Chinese-American immigrant running a failing laundromat and being audited by the IRS. Amy Mackelden, ELLE, 1 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1789, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of immigrant was in 1789

Dictionary Entries Near immigrant

Cite this Entry

“Immigrant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


im·​mi·​grant ˈim-i-grənt How to pronounce immigrant (audio)
: a person who comes to a country to live there
: a plant or animal that becomes established in an area where it did not occur previously
immigrant adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on immigrant

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