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[kol-uh-nahyz] /ˈkɒl əˌnaɪz/
verb (used with object), colonized, colonizing.
to establish a colony in; settle:
England colonized Australia.
to form a colony of:
to colonize laborers in a mining region.
verb (used without object), colonized, colonizing.
to form a colony:
They went out to Australia to colonize.
to settle in a colony.
Also, especially British, colonise.
Origin of colonize
1615-25; colon(y) + -ize
Related forms
colonizable, adjective
colonizability, noun
colonization, noun
colonizationist, noun
colonizer, noun
intercolonization, noun
intercolonize, verb, intercolonized, intercolonizing.
recolonization, noun
recolonize, verb (used with object), recolonized, recolonizing.
uncolonize, verb (used with object), uncolonized, uncolonizing.
well-colonized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for colonizers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The other five were all D-class colonizers, built during the Expansion when large populations were moved.

    The Misplaced Battleship Harry Harrison (AKA Henry Maxwell Dempsey)
  • As colonizers of a new world they were confident in their own strength.

    Union and Democracy Allen Johnson
  • The Spanish were not only the first conquerors of the New World, and its first colonizers, but also its first civilizers.

    The Spanish Pioneers Charles F. Lummis
  • The Dutch were ever colonizers and knew just how to plan and prepare a settlement.

    The Old Furniture Book N. Hudson Moore
  • After these came many competing explorers and colonizers, all of whose fortunes directly depended on the sea.

    All Afloat William Wood
  • If the country was thickly settled there would be no room for colonizers.

  • He was one, of the ablest of the second generation of colonizers in New Spain.

    The Colonization of North America Herbert Eugene Bolton
  • Among the Sacs, "Checagau" was the name of one of their valiant warriors and colonizers, and meant "He that stands by the tree."

British Dictionary definitions for colonizers


to send colonists to or establish a colony in (an area)
to settle in (an area) as colonists
(transitive) to transform (a community) into a colony
(of plants and animals) to become established in (a new environment)
Derived Forms
colonizable, colonisable, adjective
colonization, colonisation, noun
colonizer, coloniser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for colonizers



1620s, "to settle with colonists," from stem of Latin colonus "tiller of the soil, farmer" (see colony); in sense "to make another place into a national dependency" without regard for settlement there by 1790s (e.g. in reference to French activity in Egypt or British work in India), and probably directly from colony.

No principle ought ever to be tolerated or acted upon, that does not proceed on the basis of India being considered as the temporary residence of a great British Establishment, for the good government of the country, upon steady and uniform principles, and of a large British factory, for the beneficial management of its trade, upon rules applicable to the state and manners of the country. [Henry Dundas, Chairman of the East-India Company, letter, April 2, 1800]
Related: Colonized; colonizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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