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  1. an inhabitant of a colony.
  2. a member of a colonizing expedition.
  3. (often initial capital letter) an inhabitant of the 13 British colonies that became the United States of America.

Origin of colonist

An Americanism dating back to 1695–1705; colon(y) + -ist
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for colonist

Historical Examples

  • Isaacson is a Martian colonist, you've probably guessed that already.


    Poul William Anderson

  • His hands fluttered nervously, and he avoided the colonist's eyes.

    Image of the Gods

    Alan Edward Nourse

  • But if the prisoner was injured, the colonist was not less so.

  • This is no uncommon occurrence to the merchant or the colonist of tropical America.

  • I wish you would have it inserted in the Globe and Colonist.

    The Story of My Life

    Egerton Ryerson

British Dictionary definitions for colonist


  1. a person who settles or colonizes an area
  2. an inhabitant or member of a colony
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

Word Origin and History for colonist


1701, "colonizer," from colony + -ist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper