nat·​u·​ral·​ize | \ ˈna-chə-rə-ˌlīz How to pronounce naturalize (audio) , ˈnach-rə-\
naturalized; naturalizing

Definition of naturalize

transitive verb

1 : to confer the rights of a national on especially : to admit to citizenship
2 : to introduce into common use or into the vernacular
3 : to bring into conformity with nature
4 : to cause (something, such as a plant) to become established as if native

intransitive verb

: to become established as if native

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Examples of naturalize in a Sentence

The government refused to naturalize them without documentation. naturalized citizens of the U.S. Several Asian fish have become naturalized in these lakes. Before you naturalize bulbs in your lawn, fertilize well. These daisies naturalize well in the Pacific Northwest.
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Recent Examples on the Web

An Indian husband and wife were naturalized one after another. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "People from 25 countries became naturalized U.S. citizens at a ceremony on July 3," 3 July 2019 Nearly 130,000 troops have been naturalized since the Sept. 11 attacks alone. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "ICE deported veterans while ‘unaware’ it was required to carefully screen them, report says," 9 June 2019 Schreiner was never naturalized a U.S. citizen but lived as an American for 30 years. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, ""I'm an American": Man adopted by U.S. parents deported to Brazil," 5 June 2019 Despite the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban and rhetoric regarding immigrants, a total of 163,000 people have been naturalized during fiscal year 2018 — a 55 percent increase from the same time last year. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "On this Fourth of July, 14,000 immigrants become US citizens," 4 July 2018 On Friday, the ACLU said Barajas is the first known deported veteran to be naturalized as a US citizen. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, "A deported veteran is about to become a US citizen. Wait ... what?," 13 Apr. 2018 All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Trump Wants to Curb Birthright Citizenship, Escalating Immigration Debate," 30 Oct. 2018 New Citizens Honored Special honors were shown the new American citizens, naturalized in San Diego this year, at the ceremonies in the exposition grounds that followed the parade., "July 4, 1917: San Diego Honors New Citizens," 4 July 2018 Its leading proponent was W. H. Auden, who had come to the United States in 1939 and was naturalized in 1946. David Kirby, New York Times, "Donald Hall, a Poet Laureate of the Rural Life, Is Dead at 89," 24 June 2018

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

1559, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for naturalize

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for naturalize

The first known use of naturalize was in 1559

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More Definitions for naturalize



English Language Learners Definition of naturalize

: to allow (someone who was born in a different country) to become a new citizen
: to cause (a plant or animal from another place) to begin to grow and live in a new area


nat·​u·​ral·​ize | \ ˈna-chə-rə-ˌlīz How to pronounce naturalize (audio) , ˈnach-rə-\
naturalized; naturalizing

Kids Definition of naturalize

1 : to become or allow to become a citizen
2 : to become or cause to become established as if native naturalize a plant


transitive verb
nat·​u·​ral·​ize | \ ˈna-chə-rə-ˌlīz How to pronounce naturalize (audio) \
naturalized; naturalizing

Legal Definition of naturalize

: to admit (a person) to citizenship

Other Words from naturalize

naturalization \ ˌna-​chə-​rə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce naturalization (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on naturalize

Spanish Central: Translation of naturalize

Nglish: Translation of naturalize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of naturalize for Arabic Speakers

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