[mahy-grey-shuh n]


the process or act of migrating.
a migratory movement: preparations for the migration.
a number or body of persons or animals migrating together.
Chemistry. a movement or change of position of atoms within a molecule.

Origin of migration

First recorded in 1605–15, migration is from the Latin word migrātīon- (stem of migrātiō). See migrate, -ion
Related formsmi·gra·tion·al, adjectivenon·mi·gra·tion, nounpre·mi·gra·tion, adjectivere·mi·gra·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for migration

flight, transfer, journey, shift, exodus, movement, diaspora, trek, move, passage, hegira

Examples from the Web for migration

Contemporary Examples of migration

Historical Examples of migration

  • She knew where the Monarch butterfly went on his winter migration.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • The migration of Europeans to the American continent was the final step.

    Introductory American History

    Henry Eldridge Bourne

  • It is scarcely probable that there could have been only one migration of the Persians.

    Les Parsis

    D. Menant

  • Their first migration from Sanjan seems to have been to Cambay (942–997).

    Les Parsis

    D. Menant

  • The three boys were speedily in the midst of preparations for their migration.

    The Boy Settlers

    Noah Brooks

British Dictionary definitions for migration



the act or an instance of migrating
a group of people, birds, etc, migrating in a body
chem a movement of atoms, ions, or molecules, such as the motion of ions in solution under the influence of electric fields
Derived Formsmigrational, adjective
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 migration

1610s, of persons, 1640s of animals, from Latin migrationem (nominative migratio) "a removal, change of abode, migration," noun of action from past participle stem of migrare "to move from one place to another," probably originally *migwros, from PIE *meigw- (cf. Greek ameibein "to change"), from root *mei- "to change, go, move" (see mutable). Related: Migrational.

That European birds migrate across the seas or to Asia was understood in the Middle Ages, but subsequently forgotten. Dr. Johnson held that swallows slept all winter in the beds of rivers, while the naturalist Morton (1703) stated that they migrated to the moon. As late as 1837 the "Kendal Mercury" "detailed the circumstance of a person having observed several Swallows emerging from Grasmere Lake, in the spring of that year, in the form of 'bell-shaped bubbles,' from each of which a Swallow burst forth ...."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

migration in Medicine




The moving from place to place, as of disease symptoms.
The movement of a tooth or teeth out of normal position.
The movement of one or more atoms from one position to another within a molecule.
The movement of ions between electrodes during electrolysis.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

migration in Science



The seasonal movement of a complete population of animals from one area to another. Migration is usually a response to changes in temperature, food supply, or the amount of daylight, and is often undertaken for the purpose of breeding. Mammals, insects, fish, and birds all migrate. The precise mechanism of navigation during migration is not fully understood, although for birds it is believed that sharp eyesight, sensibility to the Earth's magnetic field, and the positions of the Sun and other stars may play a role.
The movement of one atom or more, or of a double bond, from one position to another within a molecule.
The movement of ions between electrodes during electrolysis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.