[ em-i-grey; French ey-mee-grey ]
/ ˈɛm ɪˌgreɪ; French eɪ miˈgreɪ /

noun, plural é·mi·grés [em-i-greyz; French ey-mee-grey]. /ˈɛm ɪˌgreɪz; French eɪ miˈgreɪ/.

an emigrant, especially a person who flees from his or her native land because of political conditions.
a person who fled from France because of opposition to or fear of the revolution that began in 1789.



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Origin of émigré

1785–95; <French: noun use of past participle of émigrer<Latin ēmīgrāre to emigrate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does émigré mean?

An émigré is an emigrant, especially one who has fled their home country due to oppressive political conditions.

An emigrant is any person who has emigrated or is emigrating—permanently leaving home in one country or region to settle in another.

While emigrants can emigrate for a number of reasons, the word émigré typically implies that someone has fled political oppression or political conditions that they strongly disagree with.

The word émigré is sometimes used in a more specific way to refer to a person who fled from France before, during, or after the French Revolution, which began in 1789. Such émigrés were often aristocrats who feared that they would be targeted by violence during the revolution or otherwise opposed it.

The related word immigrant refers to someone who moves to a place, as opposed to away from it. Of course, émigrés are also immigrants since they have to settle somewhere after they leave.

The word is sometimes seen without the accent marks (as emigre).

Example: Thousands of émigrés fled Germany during the rise of Hitler in the 1930s.

Where does émigré come from?

The first records of the word émigré come from around 1790s—during the time of the French Revolution. It ultimately comes 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.” (The word emigrant is composed of the same parts.)

The word émigré 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). It also implies that this movement is for a specific reason. While refugees are typically fleeing from negative or harmful conditions like war and famine, émigrés are leaving their home country due to political oppression. Of course, the two words are similar and are sometimes used interchangeably—especially since a person can be fleeing both war and political oppression, for example.

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What are some other forms related to émigré?

  • émigrés (plural)
  • emigre (without accents)

What are some synonyms for émigré?

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

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

How is émigré used in real life?

Émigrés are often discussed in the context of the specific oppression they fled from.



Try using émigré!

True or False? 

A person can be both an émigré and an immigrant.

Example sentences from the Web for émigré

British Dictionary definitions for émigré

/ (ˈɛmɪˌɡreɪ, French emiɡre) /


an emigrant, esp one forced to leave his native country for political reasons

Word Origin for émigré

C18: from French, from émigrer to emigrate
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