• synonyms


[mahy-gruh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]
See more synonyms for migratory on Thesaurus.com
  1. migrating.
  2. periodically migrating: a migratory species; migratory workers.
  3. pertaining to a migration:migratory movements of birds.
  4. roving; nomadic; wandering.
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Sometimes mi·gra·tive.

Origin of migratory

First recorded in 1745–55; migrate + -ory1
Related formsnon·mi·gra·to·ry, adjectivepre·mi·gra·to·ry, adjectiveun·mi·gra·tive, adjectiveun·mi·gra·to·ry, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

transient, seasonal, mobile, moving, nomadic, roving, unsettled, wandering

Examples from the Web for migratory

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • As much to me as if a stray, migratory mule had rambled into the wood and found me, and I him.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • Are they like the ducks, merely come, pause, and proceed on their migratory way?

  • They know that, without the migratory worker, most of the crops wouldn't get harvested.


    Edward G. Robles

  • All dams in streams in which are migratory fish should have fish-ways or fish-ladders.

    Boy Scouts Handbook

    Boy Scouts of America

  • Encampment does not in any way distress this migratory tribe.

    Artists' Wives

    Alphonse Daudet

British Dictionary definitions for migratory


  1. of, relating to, or characterized by migration
  2. nomadic; itinerant
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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 migratory


1753, from Latin migrat-, past participle stem of migrare "to movefrom one place to another" (see migration) + -ory.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

migratory in Science


  1. Traveling from one place to another at regular times of year, often over long distances. Salmon, whales, and swallows are all migratory animals.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.