[ mahy-gruh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ]
/ ˈmaɪ grəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i /


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

Nearby words

  1. migrant,
  2. migrate,
  3. migrating abscess,
  4. migration,
  5. migration inhibition test,
  6. migratory locust,
  7. miguelet,
  8. miha,
  9. mihailović,
  10. mihi

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

Examples from the Web for migratory

British Dictionary definitions for migratory


/ (ˈmaɪɡrətərɪ, -trɪ) /


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

Science definitions for migratory


[ mīgrə-tôr′ē ]

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.