mi·​grate | \ ˈmī-ˌgrāt How to pronounce migrate (audio) , mī-ˈgrāt How to pronounce migrate (audio) \
migrated; migrating

Definition of migrate

intransitive verb

1 : to move from one country, place, or locality to another Thousands of workers migrate to this area in the summer.
2 : to pass usually periodically from one region or climate to another for feeding or breeding The whales migrate between their feeding ground in the north and their breeding ground in the Caribbean.
3 : to change position or location in an organism or substance filarial worms migrate within the human body

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Other Words from migrate

migrator \ ˈmī-​ˌgrā-​tər How to pronounce migrator (audio) , mī-​ˈgrā-​ \ noun

Examples of migrate in a Sentence

He migrates from New York to Florida each winter. Thousands of workers migrate to this area each summer. The whales migrate between their feeding ground in the north and their breeding ground in the Caribbean. They followed the migrating herds of buffalo across the plains.
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Recent Examples on the Web Nobody wants to migrate away from home, even when an inexorable danger is inching ever closer. Meridith Kohut, ProPublica, "Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration," 15 Sep. 2020 Then, another group of them would migrate north again when the temperatures changed. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Mastodons migrated across extreme distances due to climate change, study says," 1 Sep. 2020 The salmon eventually migrate upstream to their spawning grounds or to one of the state or federal hatcheries, built as mitigation for the loss of spawning habitat from dams on major rivers. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "‘Big and fat:’ COVID-delayed fishing season raises predictions of epic fall salmon run," 21 Aug. 2020 The little red flying fox averaged about 5000 kilometers per year—farther than champion mammalian migrators such as caribou, which travel 1200 kilometers per year, and wildebeest, which migrate 2900 kilometers with each trip. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Australia’s biggest bats fly thousands of kilometers a year—farther than wildebeest and caribou," 20 Aug. 2020 The key is molten salts called ionic liquids: an abrupt temperature change causes electrons to migrate within the liquids, creating electrical energy that triggers electrodes to send the signal. Karen Kwon, Scientific American, "Cheap, Self-Powered Fire Sensor Could Sound an Early Alarm," 18 Aug. 2020 Shorebird migration has been in full swing, but land birds are starting to migrate, Pollock said. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, "30 million migrating birds are predicted to fly over Illinois tonight. Turn off your lights to help them stay on course.," 3 Sep. 2020 By tracking the shifting times of sunrise and sunset, the clocks can also drive seasonal changes, telling organisms precisely when to migrate, molt, or reproduce. Jo Marchant, Wired, "The Oysters That Knew What Time It Was," 1 Sep. 2020 The model also accounted for income distribution, on the assumption that wealthier households would be less likely to migrate. Amanda Shendruk, Quartz, "It’s time to prepare cities for people uprooted by climate change," 1 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'migrate.' 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 migrate

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for migrate

Latin migratus, past participle of migrare; perhaps akin to Greek ameibein to change

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Time Traveler for migrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of migrate was circa 1623

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Statistics for migrate

Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Migrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/migrate. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for migrate


How to pronounce migrate (audio) How to pronounce migrate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of migrate

: to move from one country or place to live or work in another
of a bird or animal : to move from one area to another at different times of the year


mi·​grate | \ ˈmī-ˌgrāt How to pronounce migrate (audio) \
migrated; migrating

Kids Definition of migrate

1 : to move from one country or region to another Families migrated west in search of work.
2 : to pass from one region to another on a regular basis Many birds migrate south for the winter.
mi·​grate | \ ˈmī-ˌgrāt How to pronounce migrate (audio) , mī-ˈ How to pronounce migrate (audio) \
migrated; migrating

Medical Definition of migrate

: to move from one place to another: as
a : to move from one site to another in a host organism especially as part of a life cycle filarial worms migrate within the human body
b of an atom or group : to shift position within a molecule

Other Words from migrate

migratory \ ˈmī-​grə-​ˌtōr-​ē, -​ˌtȯr-​ How to pronounce migratory (audio) \ adjective

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