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

According to Bloomberg News, a 17-year-old Guatemalan immigrant said guards would tell her and other girls who were as young as six that they’d go to jail. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "Children Separated from Their Parents at the U.S.-Mexico Border Deserve Mental Health Treatment, Lawsuit Says," 13 July 2018 Black immigrants face the dual threat of bias in the criminal-justice system and cruelty in the immigration and deportation system. Shamira Ibrahim, Daily Intelligencer, "Patricia Okoumou and the Threat to Black Immigrants," 13 July 2018 The most recent immigrants arrived in the late 1900s from the Indian sub-continent and South Asia. Staff Report, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora Historical Society to hold party to highlight exhibit on ethnic diversity," 13 July 2018 Moreover, attitudes towards immigrants are volatile and swayed by the political climate. The Economist, "The welfare state needs updating," 12 July 2018 One child whose parents' location is unknown may not actually be an immigrant, according to the filing. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Feds say just 4 of 102 young migrant kids reunited with parents as court deadline looms," 10 July 2018 On Flag Day in 2005, the Huntsville Times reported that half of the workers at C. F. Flag, then an FMAA member, were Mexican immigrants. Michael D. Breidenbach, The Atlantic, "Raising the American Flag Made in China," 4 July 2018 In California, Sacramento County ended a multimillion-dollar deal with ICE to keep immigrants jailed while awaiting hearings. Simon Romero,, "Cities Cut Government Contracts for Immigrant Detention as Protests Grow," 28 June 2018 In California, Sacramento County ended a multimillion-dollar deal with ICE to keep immigrants jailed while awaiting hearings. Simon Romero, New York Times, "All Over U.S., Local Officials Cancel Deals to Detain Immigrants," 28 June 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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Statistics for immigrant

Last Updated

6 Nov 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

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playful or foolish behavior

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