immigrate. emigrate

In 2002, I asked Merriam-Webster the following question. Emily Brewster replied as follows.

Q: How do immigrate and emigrate differ?

A: “Emigrate” is an intransitive verb that our Collegiate Dictionary defines as “to leave one’s place of residence or country to live elsewhere.”

“Immigrate” can be used both intransitively and transitively. Its intransitive sense is defined as “to enter and usually become established; especially: to come into a country of which one is not a native for permanent residence.” The transitive sense is defined as “to bring in or send as immigrants.”

The difference between the two words really has only to do with place. “Emigrate” focuses on the place one is leaving. People emigrate from somewhere. “Immigrate” focuses on the place one is going to. People immigrate to somewhere. And in the transitive sense of “immigrate,” a country can immigrate people, which, confusingly enough, is used to mean that it either brings people into itself or sends them to other countries.

No comments:

Post a Comment