verb (used with object), col·o·nized, col·o·niz·ing.

to establish a colony in; settle: England colonized Australia.
to form a colony of: to colonize laborers in a mining region.

verb (used without object), col·o·nized, col·o·niz·ing.

to form a colony: They went out to Australia to colonize.
to settle in a colony.

Also especially British, col·o·nise.

Origin of colonize

First recorded in 1615–25; colon(y) + -ize
Related formscol·o·niz·a·ble, adjectivecol·o·niz·a·bil·i·ty, nouncol·o·ni·za·tion, nouncol·o·ni·za·tion·ist, nouncol·o·niz·er, nounin·ter·col·o·ni·za·tion, nounin·ter·col·o·nize, verb, in·ter·col·o·nized, in·ter·col·o·niz··col·o·ni·za·tion, nounre·col·o·nize, verb (used with object), re·col·o·nized, re·col·o·niz·ing.un·col·o·nize, verb (used with object), un·col·o·nized, un·col·o·niz·ing.well-col·o·nized, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for colonization

Contemporary Examples of colonization

Historical Examples of colonization

  • And yet there is nothing which tends more to the improvement of mankind than legislation and colonization.



  • Let us then endeavour to follow this principle in colonization and legislation.



  • There is nothing, however, which perfects men's virtue more than legislation and colonization.



  • That in brief is the history of one type of German colonization in the Tsardom.

    England and Germany

    Emile Joseph Dillon

  • Space does not permit us to describe this movement of colonization.

    The Frontier in American History

    Frederick Jackson Turner

British Dictionary definitions for colonization




to send colonists to or establish a colony in (an area)
to settle in (an area) as colonists
(tr) to transform (a community) into a colony
(of plants and animals) to become established in (a new environment)
Derived Formscolonizable or colonisable, adjectivecolonization or colonisation, nouncolonizer or coloniser, noun
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 colonization

1766, noun of action from colonize.



1620s, "to settle with colonists," from stem of Latin colonus "tiller of the soil, farmer" (see colony); in sense "to make another place into a national dependency" without regard for settlement there by 1790s (e.g. in reference to French activity in Egypt or British work in India), and probably directly from colony.

No principle ought ever to be tolerated or acted upon, that does not proceed on the basis of India being considered as the temporary residence of a great British Establishment, for the good government of the country, upon steady and uniform principles, and of a large British factory, for the beneficial management of its trade, upon rules applicable to the state and manners of the country. [Henry Dundas, Chairman of the East-India Company, letter, April 2, 1800]

Related: Colonized; colonizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

colonization in Science



The spreading of a species into a new habitat. For example, flying insects and birds are often the first animal species to initiate colonization of barren islands formed by vulcanism or falling water levels. The first plant species to colonize such islands are often transported there as airborne seeds or through the droppings of birds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.