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

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Other Words from immigrant

immigrant adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for immigrant



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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 What this son of an Italian immigrant accomplished was nothing less than a revolution in the law — and the promulgation of a distinctly American conservatism that is needed now more than ever. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "The Scalia Family," 17 Oct. 2020 Well received at Sundance earlier this year, writer-director Ekwa Msangi’s gently moving debut feature tells the story of an Angolan immigrant who brings his wife and teenage daughter to live with him in Brooklyn after many years apart. Justin Chang,, "‘Sound of Metal,’ ‘Collective’ and five other films not to miss at AFI Fest," 15 Oct. 2020 The Indian community is also in the spotlight after Biden picked Senator Kamala Harris, the daughter of an Indian immigrant, as his running mate. NBC News, "Indian Americans solidly behind Biden in U.S. presidential election, survey shows," 14 Oct. 2020 As a child of an immigrant, Global Cleveland President Joe Cimperman saw how seriously his mom took voting and participating in democracy. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "Newly naturalized Americans could play pivotal role in Ohio’s general election, new immigration report reveals," 8 Oct. 2020 Sometimes a translator couldn’t be located, or the translator was located, but didn’t speak the language of the immigrant. Gabriel Thompson, Longreads, "Inside the Chaos of Immigration Court," 23 Sep. 2020 Their dad, Glenmore Style, the son of an English immigrant, worked as a Martin County iceman, cutting lake ice six days a week in the winter, wrapping it in sawdust and delivering the frozen slabs in the summer. Curt Brown, Star Tribune, "Two Minnesota brothers, side by side, gave all in WWII," 29 Aug. 2020 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah does an incredible job of telling the story of a Nigerian immigrant. Alison S. Cohn, Harper's BAZAAR, "Six Black Female Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing Their Industries For Good," 25 Aug. 2020 But the stereotype of the dangerous immigrant… that’s a perception gap. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why do Americans think more immigration means more crime? (audio)," 17 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for immigrant

Time Traveler

The first known use of immigrant was in 1789

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Statistics for immigrant

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Immigrant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for immigrant


How to pronounce immigrant (audio)

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

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Comments on immigrant

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