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[mahy-gruh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈmaɪ grəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
periodically migrating:
a migratory species; migratory workers.
pertaining to a migration:
migratory movements of birds.
roving; nomadic; wandering.
Sometimes, migrative.
Origin of migratory
First recorded in 1745-55; migrate + -ory1
Related forms
nonmigratory, adjective
premigratory, adjective
unmigrative, adjective
unmigratory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for migratory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Were these birds visitors from the interior, or had they just arrived at the end of a migratory journey from some distant country?

  • Like most of the water-birds of America, the canvas-back is migratory.

    The Hunters' Feast Mayne Reid
  • North America; migratory at the northern limit of its range; roosting in colonies in winter.

    What Bird is That? Frank M. Chapman
  • Approximately all of the species concerned are of migratory habits.

    The Bird Study Book Thomas Gilbert Pearson
  • Most antelope are not migratory, but in a few localities the flocks make a short migration.

    Watched by Wild Animals Enos A. Mills
  • Are they like the ducks, merely come, pause, and proceed on their migratory way?

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • In these migratory excursions, if they came to a brook or small river, their progress was not stayed.

    Jack in the Forecastle John Sherburne Sleeper
  • They know that, without the migratory worker, most of the crops wouldn't get harvested.

    See? Edward G. Robles
British Dictionary definitions for migratory


/ˈmaɪɡrətərɪ; -trɪ/
of, relating to, or characterized by migration
nomadic; itinerant
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 migratory

1753, from Latin migrat-, past participle stem of migrare "to movefrom one place to another" (see migration) + -ory.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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migratory in Science
Traveling from one place to another at regular times of year, often over long distances. Salmon, whales, and swallows are all migratory animals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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