• synonyms

boat people


plural noun

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.


Creativity Quotes By Inspirational PeopleRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.


Nearby words

boat drill, boat hook, boat nail, boat neck, boat patch, boat people, boat race, boat shoe, boat tail, boat train, boat-billed heron

Origin of boat people

First recorded in 1975–80 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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

    "Us"|Mary Louisa S. Molesworth
  • There exist particular works concerning the history, the customs and laws of these boat-people.

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

    The Settlers at Home|Harriet Martineau

British Dictionary definitions for boat people

boat people

pl n

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