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[mahy-greyt] /ˈmaɪ greɪt/
verb (used without object), migrated, migrating.
to go from one country, region, or place to another.
Synonyms: move, resettle, relocate.
Antonyms: remain.
to pass periodically from one region or climate to another, as certain birds, fishes, and animals:
The birds migrate southward in the winter.
to shift, as from one system, mode of operation, or enterprise to another.
Physiology. (of a cell, tissue, etc.) to move from one region of the body to another, as in embryonic development.
  1. (of ions) to move toward an electrode during electrolysis.
  2. (of atoms within a molecule) to change position.
(at British universities) to change or transfer from one college to another.
Origin of migrate
1690-1700; < Latin migrātus (past participle of migrāre to move from place to place, change position or abode), equivalent to migrā- verb stem + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
migrator, noun
intermigrate, verb (used without object), intermigrated, intermigrating.
nonmigrating, adjective, noun
remigrate, verb (used without object), remigrated, remigrating.
unmigrating, adjective
Can be confused
emigrate, immigrate, migrate (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonym Study
1. Migrate, emigrate, immigrate are used of changing one's abode from one country or part of a country to another. To migrate is to make such a move either once or repeatedly: to migrate from Ireland to the United States. To emigrate is to leave a country, usually one's own (and take up residence in another): Each year many people emigrate from Europe. To immigrate is to enter and settle in a country not one's own: There are many inducements to immigrate to South America. Migrate is applied both to people or to animals that move from one region to another, especially periodically; the other terms are generally applied to movements of people. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for migrate
  • Scientists don't know when birds originally evolved the ability to migrate.
  • Magnetite is the magnetic mineral that helps pigeons home and salmons migrate.
  • Plants migrate even further all the time due to locally changing conditions like desertification.
  • When the Indian subcontinent was partitioned in 1947, millions of people were forced to migrate.
  • She could risk travel perils and migrate, like swallows, to lands with plentiful food.
  • Some northern birds migrate south for winter.
  • Both cameras are also used to image the squid at night when they migrate to the surface to feed.
  • Several hundred thousand farm workers migrate.
  • They will simply migrate to areas where there still is sufficient water.
  • But after a while things need to migrate to the public domain.
British Dictionary definitions for migrate


verb (intransitive)
to go from one region, country, or place of abode to settle in another, esp in a foreign country
(of birds, fishes, etc) to journey between different areas at specific times of the year
Derived Forms
migrator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin migrāre to change one's abode
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 migrate

1690s, from Latin migratus, past participle of migrare "to move from one place to another" (see migration). Related: Migrated; migrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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