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boat people

See more synonyms for boat people on Thesaurus.com
plural noun
  1. refugees who have fled a country by boat, usually without sufficient provisions, navigational aids, or a set destination, especially those who left Indochina by sea as a result of the fall of South Vietnam in 1975.
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Origin of boat people

First recorded in 1975–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for boat people

foreigner, alien, exile, expatriate, emigrant, evacuee, castaway, renegade, deserter, foundling, outlaw, fugitive, outcast, defector, escapee, leper, prodigal, maroon, derelict, runaway

Examples from the Web for boat people

Historical Examples of boat people

  • I'll hide about, and mayhap somehow I might get a chance among the boat-people.

    "Us"

    Mary Louisa S. Molesworth

  • Though the boat-people were still too far off to distinguish figures, a signal might catch their eye.

    The Settlers at Home

    Harriet Martineau

  • There exist particular works concerning the history, the customs and laws of these boat-people.

  • At sundown the boat-people anchor their craft in rows to stakes, thus forming boat-terraces as it were.

    Man on the Ocean

    R.M. Ballantyne


British Dictionary definitions for boat people

boat people

pl n
  1. refugees, esp from Vietnam in the late 1970s, who leave by boat hoping to be picked up by ships of another country
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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