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), 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

Undocumented immigrants who commit crimes are arrested and charged like anybody else in the city would be. Yvonne Abraham,, "The truth about Lawrence," 14 July 2018 The California version, by comparison, allows undocumented immigrants to enroll and also those who have health insurance but whose annual coverage costs exceed $750. Paul Sisson,, "Komen, Atkins celebrate elimination of cancer treatment limits," 13 July 2018 Other countries are now the source of most undocumented immigrants. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "The Changing Face of Illegal Border Crossings," 13 July 2018 Local and state political leaders demanded answers from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail that contracts with ICE to hold about 200 undocumented immigrants per day. Otis R. Taylor Jr.,, "Honduran woman deported from Contra Costa jail is glad to hear ICE is getting booted," 12 July 2018 Some immigration activists have said ICE uses that information to racially profile residents and target noncriminal undocumented immigrants. Anna Orso,, "City requests meeting with ICE officials on future of data-sharing agreement," 12 July 2018 That entails apprehending, detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants that the White House said has resulted in more than 127,000 arrests alone last year for people with criminal convictions. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Abolish ICE movement pits practicality against passion for local Democrats," 10 July 2018 Last month, after weeks of outrage, President Trump signed an executive order ending his administration’s practice of separating undocumented immigrants from their children at the border. Callie Beusman, The Cut, "The Lasting Trauma of Family Detention," 6 July 2018 The agency, which was created in 2003, had previously been focused on deporting undocumented immigrants with serious or violent criminal records. Steven Lemongello,, "Andrew Gillum: Abolish ICE 'in its current form'," 5 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to immigrant

illegal alien/immigrant

Statistics for immigrant

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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

What made you want to look up immigrant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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