[ eks-peyt ]
/ ɛksˈpeɪt /
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noun Informal.
an expatriate: a favorite hangout for expats.
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Origin of expat

First recorded in 1960–65; by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does expat mean?

Expat is short for expatriate—a person who has moved from their native country to another country permanently or for an extended period of time.

The word expatriate can refer to a person who has been forced to live in another country (such as due to having been exiled or banished), but it most commonly refers to someone who has chosen to relocate to work in the new country or to retire there. Expats may or may not become citizens of the countries they move to, and they may or may not retain their original citizenship.

If the word expat sounds like it has just about the same meaning as the word immigrant, that’s because it does. But expat is used much more narrowly. It can imply (or is at least associated with) a certain amount of wealth and privilege—things not implied by or associated with the word immigrant. The word expat is especially applied to Westerners and used by them to refer to themselves.

The word expat is commonly preceded by the person’s original nationality, as in an American expat in Paris. 

The word expatriate can also be used as a verb and an adjective, but expat is typically used as a noun (though it functions as an adjective in common phrases like expat community).

Example: The city has such a large community of British expats that there are multiple pubs that serve as popular social spots for them.

Where does expat come from?

The first records of the word expat come from the 1960s. It’s a shortening of expatriate, which is first recorded much earlier, in the 1760s, and comes from the Latin expatriāre, meaning “to banish,” from ex-, “out of,” and patria, “native land.” The popularity of the word has increased greatly since the 1990s.

People who are called expats relocate for a number of reasons, but exile isn’t a common one. Instead, they usually move to work in the country or because they simply enjoy what it’s like to live there, such as during retirement. They are known for forming communities in the countries where they move to with other expats from the same native country. Of course, many of these same things can be said about people called immigrants.

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


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How is expat used in real life?

Expat is used informally. It’s often used by expatriate Westerners to refer to themselves (typically to make expatriate sound a bit cooler).



Try using expat!

True or False? 

An expat is always someone who has renounced or has lost their citizenship in their native country.

How to use expat in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for expat

/ (ˌɛksˈpæt) /

noun, adjective
informal short for expatriate
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