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


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

Many immigrants are likely to file legal appeals, slowing their deportations. New York Times, "Trump Again Threatens ‘Major Operation’ Against Undocumented Migrants," 12 July 2019 The members of the Squad include Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who is Black, Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is a Somali immigrant, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is Palestinian American. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Sen. Kamala Harris Defends Pelosi Amid Tensions With 'The Squad'," 12 July 2019 More than 52,000 immigrants were in federal custody in May, and at the end of 2018 a record number of immigrant children, 14,000, were being held. Tovin Lapan, Fortune, "‘Lights for Liberty’ Vigil Reflects Growing Resistance to Immigrant Detention Policies," 11 July 2019 Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales on Wednesday publicly voiced support for giving undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin a chance to get driver’s licenses. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Police Chief Alfonso Morales says undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin should have driver's licenses," 11 July 2019 The immigrants, ages 19 to 25, are eligible for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "California becomes first state to provide health care coverage to some undocumented adults," 10 July 2019 In a separate case in New York, the Justice Department confirmed the department has been ordered to examine ways to add the question, which immigrant advocates and Democrats have said is designed to benefit the electoral prospects of Republicans. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "After Trump tweets, DOJ says it will "reevaluate" adding citizenship census question," 3 July 2019 Cincinnati Councilman Chris Seelbach posted on Facebook Monday that the City of Cincinnati will not assist ICE in any way in the detainment of undocumented immigrants. Maia Anderson,, "Chris Seelbach: Cincinnati will not cooperate with President Trump's ICE raids," 26 June 2019 What Really Happened: That the US treatment of immigrants has become increasingly inhumane over the past few years is, sadly, no surprise. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: The President Is Running for President, FYI," 23 June 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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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

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Comments on immigrant

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food or victuals

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