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

to release from the status of a colony.
to allow (a colony) to become self-governing or independent.

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

to free a colony to become self-governing or independent.

Nearby words

  1. decollation,
  2. decolletage,
  3. decollete,
  4. decolonialize,
  5. decolonization,
  6. decolor,
  7. decolorant,
  8. decolorize,
  9. decolour,
  10. decommission

Also especially British, de·col·o·nise.

Origin of decolonize

Related formsde·col·o·ni·za·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decolonization

British Dictionary definitions for decolonization




(tr) to grant independence to (a colony)
Derived Formsdecolonization or decolonisation, 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 decolonization



1853 in political sense, American English, from de- + colonization. Earlier as a medical term.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper