[ (eks-pay-tree-ay-shuhn) ]
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Voluntary departure from the nation of one's birth for permanent or prolonged residence in another nation.

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Cultural definitions for expatriation (2 of 2)

[ (eks-pay-tree-ay-shuhn) ]

Voluntarily leaving the nation of one's birth for permanent or prolonged residence in another country.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


What does expatriation mean?

Expatriation is the voluntary departure from one’s native country to another country to live there permanently or for an extended period of time.

A person who does this can be called an expatriate. So expatriation is the act or process of becoming an expatriate.

The word expatriate can refer to people who have been forced to live in another country (such as due to having been exiled or banished), but it most commonly refers to people who have chosen to relocate to work in the new country or to retire there. Expatriation may or may not involve becoming a citizen of the country a person moves to, and it may or may not involve retaining their original citizenship.

If the word expatriation sounds like it has just about the same meaning as the word immigration, that’s because it does. But expatriation 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 immigration. The word expatriate is especially applied to Westerners and used by them to refer to themselves. A common and informal short form is expat.

Expatriate can also be used as a verb meaning to withdraw one’s residence in or allegiance to their native country, or to banish a citizen. Expatriation can also refer to these processes.

Example: The process of expatriation is long and expensive, but many expatriates feel it’s worth it to live where they want.

Where does expatriation come from?

The first records of the word expatriation come from the 1800s. It ultimately comes from the Latin expatriāre, meaning “to banish,” from ex-, “out of,” and patria, “native land.”

People referred to as expatriates may be in exile, but the word more commonly refers to those who have relocated for voluntary reasons, such as to work in the country or because they simply enjoy what it’s like to live there. This is what expatriation usually refers to. It often involves a complicated legal process.

The related word repatriation refers to the process of bringing or sending a person back to the country where they have citizenship.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to expatriation?

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

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

How is expatriation used in real life?

The word expatriation is often used in discussion of the legal process of moving abroad, especially by Westerners relocating for work.



Try using expatriation!

True or False? 

Expatriation always involves a person renouncing their citizenship in their native country.

How to use expatriation in a sentence