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“Immigrate” vs. “Emigrate”—What’s the Difference?

Updated on June 27, 2023Grammar

Is emigrate an alternative spelling of immigrate? If not, what’s the difference between immigrate and emigrate?

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Immigrate vs. emigrate: Whats the difference?

Although related, immigrate and emigrate are not alternative spellings of the same word. They each have their own meaning.

  • Immigrate means to live in a country that is not your country of origin. It is often used with to
  • Emigrate means to leave your country of origin and live someplace else. It is often used with from.

The meaning of emigrate

Emigrate is not an alternative spelling of immigrate. Emigrate means to leave a place, such as a country of origin, to settle in another location. Here is an example. To best understand it, remember that Albert Einstein was born in Germany.

Albert Einstein emigrated from Germany to the United States.

The meaning of immigrate

To immigrate is to settle in a country where you were not born. Here is an example of the verb immigrate.

Madeline Albright immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia.

How to remember the difference between immigrate and emigrate

Immigrate begins with the letter I. If you associate I with “in,” you can easily remember that immigrate means to move into a different country. Emigrate begins with an E, so if you associate it with exit, you’ll remember that it means to leave your home country.

Immigrate and emigrate examples

“Canadians who marry someone from abroad shouldn’t have to wait for years to have them immigrate or be left with uncertainty in terms of their ability to stay,” says John McCallum, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.
Canadian Immigrant

Former Deal or No Deal star, Noel Edmonds is planning to leave Bristol and emigrate, according to reports.
Bristol Post


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