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 Eleven of South Korea’s naturalized Olympians in 2018 are on its men’s (seven) and women’s (four) hockey teams. JerÉ Longman And Chang W. Lee, New York Times, "South Korea Got the Winter Games. Then It Needed More Olympians.," 9 Feb. 2018 Timothy Meaher had pressured the African men, who had been naturalized in 1868, to vote Democrat, the pro-slavery party. National Geographic, "," 16 Jan. 2020 There are around 16 million Hindus in Bangladesh alone, and naturalizing large numbers of immigrants could also greatly impact employment, government subsidies and education. James Griffiths, CNN, "Protests spread across India over new citizenship law which excludes Muslims," 15 Dec. 2019 But the protesters in Assam and Tripura say the bill will dilute their numbers by naturalizing Hindus from neighboring Bangladesh who fled to India decades ago, during their country’s civil war., "Protests grow in India over religion-based citizenship bill - The Boston Globe," 13 Dec. 2019 Three of the women were born in the United States; the fourth, Omar, was a refugee from Somalia and naturalized almost two decades ago. John Myers,, "Trump's tweets fuel outrage and a new immigration debate," 15 July 2019 This year, the coalition launched a campaign to try to naturalize 1 million new citizens in time for the 2020 election. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "As Trump seeks reelection, a growing army of immigrant voters stands in his path," 31 Oct. 2019 Early on, George Borjas identified two reasons for this: Some states used their own funds to cover newly ineligible immigrants, and many immigrants seemed to have naturalized to maintain access to benefits unavailable to non-citizens. Mark Krikorian, National Review, "Trump’s Commonsense Rule on Immigrant Welfare Use," 13 Aug. 2019 Omar, a refugee from Somalia, was naturalized in 2000. Laura King,, "Trump to Democratic congresswomen: ‘Go back’ to where they came from. They’re Americans.," 14 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for naturalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of naturalize was in 1559

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Statistics for naturalize

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Naturalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for naturalize


How to pronounce naturalize (audio)

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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