[ em-i-grey-shuhn ]
/ ˌɛm ɪˈgreɪ ʃən /
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an act or instance of emigrating.
a body of emigrants; emigrants collectively.
Physiology. diapedesis.


What Is The Difference Between "Immigration" And "Emigration"?

The words immigration and emigration both refer to leaving one country or region to live in another. So, what’s the difference between these terms?

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Origin of emigration

1640–50; <Late Latin ēmīgrātiōn- (stem of ēmīgrātiō) removal. See emigrate, -ion


em·i·gra·tion·al, adjectivenon·em·i·gra·tion, nounre·em·i·gra·tion, noun

Words nearby emigration

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does emigration mean?

Emigration is the act or occurrence of emigrating—permanently leaving home in one country or region to settle in another.

A person who is emigrating or has emigrated can be called an emigrant. Less commonly, emigration can also be used to refer to emigrants collectively.

What’s the difference between emigration, immigration, and migration?

Migration is the act of moving from one place to another (and perhaps back and forth). Emigration is moving out, while immigration is moving in. For this reason, the word emigration is commonly followed by from and the home country, whereas immigration is commonly followed by to and the destination country.

Of course, emigration and immigration are two ways to describe the same process—people who are emigrating are also immigrating (if they leave, they have to go somewhere).

But there are good reasons to use each word in different situations. For example, one country may be a common destination for immigration, while another may experience frequent emigration.

The words migration and immigration are more likely to be used to describe such relocation in a general way (that is, a way that takes both the starting point and the destination into account), whereas emigration is almost always about the starting point.

Example: The lack of employment has caused emigration to increase significantly, with many highly skilled workers leaving the country.

Where does emigration come from?

The first records of the word emigration come from the 1640s. Its base word, emigrate, comes from the Latin ēmīgrātus, meaning “moved away.” This word derives from the Latin verb ēmīgrāre, from mīgrāre, meaning “to depart” or “to move from place to place.” The e- part means “out of” or “from.” (In immigration, the im- part means “in” or “into.”)

The word emigration typically implies movement out of one country into another (as opposed to movement out of a city or state into another one in the same country). Emigration usually refers to the process of emigrating or the collective departure of all the people who have left. Most countries track statistics about such movement, especially in relation to how it may affect their economies. Although emigration implies a permanent departure, a person may emigrate again and again until they settle in some place.

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What are some other forms related to emigration?

  • emigrational (adjective)
  • nonemigration (noun)
  • reemigration (noun)
  • emigrate (verb)

What are some words that share a root or word element with emigration

What are some words that often get used in discussing emigration?

What are some words emigration may be commonly confused with?

How is emigration used in real life?

Emigration is often discussed in the context of history and economics. The word emigration is somewhat less commonly used than immigration and migration, since those two can be used more generally.


Try using emigration!

Which of the following people would be the primary subjects of a study of emigration from Germany to France?

A. People who have left France to live in Germany
B. People who have left Germany to live in France
C. People who move back and forth between Germany and France
D. People who have left Germany to vacation in France

How to use emigration in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for emigration

/ (ˌɛmɪˈɡreɪʃən) /

the act or an instance of emigrating
emigrants considered collectively
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