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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Scientists have recently come up with a new way to track migrating birds using weather technology. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Millions of Birds Are Migrating Earlier Because of Warming," 17 Dec. 2019 Park District Resource Management Specialist Travis Morton noted that the wetlands are likely a prime stopover for migrating waterfowl to eat and rest. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Medina County Park District to open Granger Wetlands wildlife sanctuary," 13 Dec. 2019 Millions of migrating birds stop to feed during their journeys from Central America and Mexico to the rest of North America. AZCentral.com, "It's one of Arizona's most precious rivers. Hundreds of new wells may leave it running dry," 5 Dec. 2019 Flowers open before the insects that pollinate them can get there, and migrating birds miss the spring flush. Cheryl Katz, National Geographic, "Warming at the poles will soon be felt globally in rising seas, extreme weather," 4 Dec. 2019 Even conservationists and advocacy groups that often battle the Trump administration over what goes on and off the endangered list hailed the migrating bird’s recovery as an environmental success story. Washington Post, "Midwestern bird that was nearly extinct makes a dramatic comeback," 23 Oct. 2019 In New England, where my co-author and I are based, these corridors sustain native animals and migrating birds and insects including dozens of bees, one of which is so rare it was thought to have been lost decades ago from the United States. David L. Wagner, The Conversation, "New England power line corridors harbor rare bees and other wild things," 3 Oct. 2019 Many of those migrating birds tend to nest in wooded, swampy areas where mosquitoes like to breed — areas that for hundreds of years in Connecticut were often drained and cleared for agriculture. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Climate change linked to the spread of mosquito-borne viruses like EEE," 28 Sep. 2019 Coffee grown under trees provides tons of habitat for all those migrating birds flying to Central and South America, says Fitzpatrick. Amy Chillag, CNN, "Birds are dying off at an alarming rate. Here's how you can help from your own backyard," 26 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about migrate

Time Traveler for migrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of migrate was circa 1623

See more words from the same year

Statistics for migrate

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Migrate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/migrates. Accessed 27 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on migrate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for migrate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with migrate

Spanish Central: Translation of migrate

Nglish: Translation of migrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of migrate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on migrate

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


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!