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.

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

Historical Examples of boat people

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


    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

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