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

In the Bay Area, turning our backs on immigrants hurts us all. Peter Leroe-munoz, The Mercury News, "Opinion: How turning our backs on immigrants hurts Bay Area," 6 Sep. 2019 But the raids in Mississippi were worse than simply an unnecessary, cruel and hypocritical flex by the Trump administration in its war on immigrants living in the U.S. without permission. Eric Zorn,, "Column: Chicken-factory employees in the U.S. illegally work in fear. Their employers, not so much.," 3 Sep. 2019 Palantir, which recently signed a contract with ICE for almost $50 million, provides software that ICE uses to collect data on immigrants. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "How Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Crossed the Road: raceAhead," 29 Aug. 2019 Some of those changes are already in place, like the district’s decision to allow parents to enter schools using forms of ID available to undocumented immigrants. Koby Levin, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit superintendent's plan to protect students could get him in trouble," 29 Aug. 2019 However, Capps said, Obama focused his enforcement efforts on immigrants who had committed serious crimes. Olivia Sanchez, USA TODAY, "Endless fear: Undocumented immigrants grapple with anxiety, depression under Trump," 25 Aug. 2019 Those concerns would appear to apply equally to immigrants married to citizens, and those married to noncitizens. Dara Lind, ProPublica, "The Administration Rushed on a Sweeping Immigration Policy. We Found Substantive, Sloppy Mistakes.," 20 Aug. 2019 Many industries have long relied on unauthorized immigrants to fill necessary, low-wage jobs. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Will immigration enforcement still go light on employers?," 16 Aug. 2019 The new spot connects Trump's rhetoric on immigrants to the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, which was the largest targeted attack on Latinos in modern American history. NBC News, "Kamala Harris scores endorsement from Iowa's Asian-Latino Coalition," 13 Aug. 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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