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

Essential Meaning of immigrant

: a person who comes to a country to live there Millions of immigrants came to America from Europe in the 19th century. The city has a large immigrant population. an illegal immigrant [=a person who enters and lives in a country without official permission]

Full 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 Perhaps Kim’s sense of precariousness owes something to his being an immigrant. New York Times, 4 Oct. 2021 Wonder Woman was an immigrant — Samira was born in Bombay! Christopher Borrelli,, 4 Oct. 2021 Alexander Hamilton, a primary architect of the United States of America, was an immigrant. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 29 Sep. 2021 Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first Latino and immigrant to lead the agency, will head the task force. Globe Staff,, 6 Feb. 2021 If confirmed, Mayorkas, 61, will be the first Latino and immigrant to lead the department. Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner, 19 Jan. 2021 Garcia Zarate remains in custody, however, after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and being an undocumented immigrant in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Sep. 2021 One of his programs matches groups of kids to an elder with similar experiences — being an immigrant, for example. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 Flanigan’s first wife, Anne, was also an immigrant from Ireland. Los Angeles Times, 22 Aug. 2021

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

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The first known use of immigrant was in 1789

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Statistics for immigrant

Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Immigrant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for immigrant


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

More from Merriam-Webster on immigrant

Nglish: Translation of immigrant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of immigrant for Arabic Speakers


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