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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Nasturtiums naturalize in almost any area with a mild coastal climate and provide an extremely long season of bloom. Sunset Magazine, 13 July 2022 However, after getting a green card via the EB-5 foreign investor visa route, applicants can naturalize. Andy J. Semotiuk, Forbes, 6 July 2022 In March, the Knesset resurrected a law denying Israelis the right to naturalize Palestinian spouses from the West Bank. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, 18 June 2022 And Asians in general couldn't naturalize until 1952. Brandon Tensley, CNN, 17 June 2021 In Massachusetts, where some 200,000 immigrants are eligible to naturalize but haven’t, local advocates say the cost is prohibitive for some., 29 May 2021 In Bowles’s day, snowdrops had been in England long enough for colonies to naturalize in undisturbed sites. Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2021 For me, one of the great wonders of my adopted hometown is that anyone can spontaneously naturalize themselves as a New Yorker—and, most importantly, that the city will generously indulge them. John Wray, Travel + Leisure, 8 Mar. 2021 Something that is often missed in this debate is that switching to lower case is also a way to naturalize a word. Meghan O'gieblyn, Wired, 10 Dec. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of naturalize

1559, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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The first known use of naturalize was in 1559

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Naturalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for naturalize


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 naturalize (audio) \ noun


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