[mahy-gruh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


periodically migrating: a migratory species; migratory workers.
pertaining to a migration:migratory movements of birds.
roving; nomadic; wandering.

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. 2019

Related Words for migratory

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

Examples from the Web for migratory

Contemporary Examples of migratory

Historical Examples of migratory

  • 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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

migratory in Science



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