Saturday, March 02, 2013

Emigrate & Immigrate



Judy from Cedar wrote, “Could you explain the difference between the words  immigrate, emigrate, and migrate – and when it is proper to use each one?
The difference between emigrate and immigrate is a matter of direction. To emigrate is to move OUT OF a country; let the initial letter –e- stand for exit. To immigrate is to move INTO a country; let the initial letter –i- stand for into. Observe that both actions take place in one motion: I emigrate from Ireland as I immigrate to America.

Both words are based on migrate. That comes from a Latin word that meant to change residence. To migrate doesn't necessitate going from one country to an entirely different one. And in a metaphorical application, migrate can mean to spread or transfer, and it is not confined to humans.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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