Definition of colonize in English:


(also colonise)


  • 1 Send settlers to (a place) and establish political control over it.

    ‘the Greeks colonized Sicily and southern Italy’
    • ‘They don't necessarily need to send in troops - they send in men in suits and they colonise the place financially.’
    • ‘He put down rebellions and sent his Athenian armies to colonize other areas of Asia Minor.’
    • ‘‘The classic age of imperialism effectively ended in 1918 ’, she writes, though the greater part of the world was still colonised.’
    • ‘They were representatives of a huge power to the north that was trying to colonise a Mexican province.’
    • ‘I think we should send them to colonize other planets for us.’
    • ‘Indigenous peoples shared their land with the newcomers and eventually it became more than sharing as the settlers colonized the continent and waged an undeclared war against Indigneous peoples.’
    • ‘During the 16th century Spain and England were colonizing the world and gaining power.’
    • ‘Police Chief Berryer's men routinely rounded up vagrants and sent them off to colonize Canada.’
    • ‘Writer Peter Pierce believes that the fear of being lost in hostile desert or bushland has been deeply etched into the Australian psyche ever since Europeans colonised the southern continent.’
    • ‘There were some other parallels to Scotland - apart from the fact that the place was colonised by Scots, adopted by Scots, and virtually christened by the early settlers as an alternative Scotland.’
    • ‘Other places were also colonized, especially some Caribbean islands, and more of the North American coast.’
    • ‘Viking settlers tried to colonise it more than 1,500 years ago.’
    • ‘On 13 July 1889 he founded the British South Africa Company, which subsequently administered and colonized the territory named Southern Rhodesia in his honour in 1898.’
    • ‘With the exception of Thailand, all the countries in the region were colonized by a Western country.’
    • ‘In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most of the Islamic world was conquered and colonized by the European powers.’
    • ‘A pair of French Canadians founded and helped to colonize this southern French territory.’
    • ‘No one is certain whether the pigs roaming the landscape as Europeans began to formally colonize the southeastern region were the descendants of De Soto's walking food supply.’
    • ‘A fatal mistake was choosing to colonise land at the heart of the Spanish empire.’
    • ‘Moreover, this symbolic conquest of the land and the skills learned on the snowshoe tramps made the contemporary political objective of colonizing the North West and creating a transatlantic nation all the more possible.’
    • ‘Most people seem to take one of two general points of view on the quest that rockets represent: A vocal minority is certain that humanity will colonize space, just as Europeans colonized the New World.’
    establish a colony in, people, populate, pioneer, open up, found
    overrun, occupy, take over, seize, capture, take possession of, annex, subjugate, hegemonize
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Settle among and establish control over (the indigenous people of an area)
      ‘they sought to discredit the peoples they were colonizing’
      ‘an organization seeking to protect the rights of the newly colonized’
      • ‘These discrepancies undermined the authority and identity of the colonizer and cleared a space for the colonized to strategically and subversively engage with these discourses.’
      • ‘History was clear, people hate being colonized and subjected to the experiments of others and we are poor colonizers. In the end, we let them go.’
      • ‘Its purpose was to instil the right ‘English values’ in colonised subjects and to project a vision of all that was finest and most admirable in English culture.’
      • ‘However, an even stronger case can be made that Molly represents the contemporary Irishwoman, colonized subject of the postcolonial Irish male.’
      • ‘Various attempts at colonizing America's black population abroad had been attempted, with little success, throughout the nation's history.’
      • ‘By reconstructing the colonized subjects as warriors rather than as victims, the poem and the play assert the legitimacy of the nationalist struggle.’
      • ‘The ‘Others’ were the colonized indigenous people, immigrants, and people of color who were outside the controlled, managed garden.’
      • ‘The Celtic and Anglo-Saxon peoples of the west were in this sense colonized subjects, just as many Slavic groups were in the east and Mediterranean peoples to the south.’
      • ‘The Bible which has been used as a tool to oppress, subjugate and colonize indigenous people has proved to be even more powerful a weapon than the European's firearms.’
      • ‘This effect is exacerbated by aspects of India that complicate or contradict the colonial community's blinkered perception-a perception shaped by its segregation from the space of the colonized.’
      • ‘The linguistic and cultural ties are there, as is a surprising degree of goodwill on the part of previously colonized populations.’
      • ‘In the 1940s, most East Indians had only sticks and stones against the English Empire's massive military power which had been colonizing them for years in what must have felt like a permanent state of oppression.’
      • ‘Such a categorization not only reflects a particular set of political influences but is dependent on the nature of the relationship between the dominant colonizing nation and its subject nation.’
      • ‘Fundamentalism is a cultural backlash to globalization; the alienated and angry young men of colonized societies and cultures react to the erosion of their identity and security.’
      • ‘Like many indigenous peoples who have been colonised much much harm has been done.’
      • ‘That this pattern is so similar across all colonised indigenous groups is one reason for having a theme issue devoted to their health.’
      • ‘They demonstrate psychiatry's significant role in the production of knowledge about colonized populations, and shed new light on the psychological dimensions of diverse colonial societies.’
      • ‘The tracing of the imagery of flames that destroy the colonizer and torture the colonized employs yet another older technique to address newer questions.’
      • ‘As is the case with so many colonized Indigenous peoples around the globe, Indigenous people within the borders of Canada have survived repeated attempts to forcibly remove them from the land and absorb them into the larger society.’
      • ‘That ambivalence arises, in part, out of the inherent paradox involved in the command ‘Be like us but not too much alike’ given to the colonized subject.’
    2. 1.2Appropriate (a place or domain) for one's own use.
      ‘a small town in a part of the Hudson Valley fast being colonized by weekenders’
      • ‘It is a political party colonized by religious militants.’
      • ‘She said: ‘The more the BBC colonises that space the harder it will be for the commercial players to compete.’’
      • ‘They are allowing their discourse to be colonized by a moralism more appropriate to the pulpit than to the soap-box.’
      • ‘The capitalists who are now colonising the public sector across the globe are the common enemy of workers everywhere.’
      • ‘Traditional lines of separation between political camps disappeared, and concepts that before had been strictly colonized by one political camp could be used much more freely by all.’
      • ‘Which is another way of saying that corporations have so completely colonised the world - they own it, and our experience of it - that the enemy here seems to be as vast as reality itself.’
      • ‘In more recent times, it was artists who colonised the village, followed later by the yachting crowd.’
      • ‘Public space has been colonised for commercial purposes and the original building has lost its breathtaking simplicity.’
      • ‘NIMBYs are colonising the city centre and threatening to destroy much that makes their trendy homes trendy.’
      • ‘Is it possible that such attacks were motivated by the belief that American corporate behemoths were colonizing web space initially designed for free flows of information, not business retailing?’
      • ‘Ecopower is also driven by the joint interests of capital (to colonize and commodify) and the state (to manage for the sake of the perceived public good).’
      • ‘What it illustrates is the propensity of political science to become colonized by economists, for the agents theorized in this way are basically economic actors.’
      • ‘In it she investigates how corporations have colonised our cultural space and exposes the sweatshop economy that props up some popular consumer brands.’
      • ‘As capitalism colonises new territory, that territory should not be abandoned.’
      • ‘In terms of musicals, he has been there for nigh on 20 years, colonising foreign cities with his chorus lines.’
      • ‘Philosophy is very difficult to justify at the moment, mainly because discourses of science have colonised much of the subject over the last two and a half thousand years - and continue to do so.’
      • ‘Artists have worked on a continuum from the mural, with its respect for the architectural form it inhabits and supplements, to graffiti, which commonly appears as a critique of the space it colonises.’
      • ‘While it is true that many now prefer a bottle of wine at home, the pub chains that have colonised town and city centres are nevertheless enjoying growing profits.’
      • ‘I'm a great believer that if the sporting area is completely colonised by the economic system, then people will go and play their own games.’
      • ‘The advocates claim that enforcing prohibitions against colonizing public and private space penalizes street vagrants merely for being homeless.’
    3. 1.3Ecology (of a plant or animal) establish itself in (an area)
      ‘mussels can colonize even the most inhospitable rock surfaces’
      • ‘In recent decades, it has colonized such far-flung places as Cape Cod, and in 1999 one was captured in New York City's Central Park.’
      • ‘This season, more than 30,000 birds, belonging to 30 species, have colonised the place.’
      • ‘Both grasses often colonize continuous expanses of desert, closing the open spaces that normally separate native desert plants and protect them from fire.’
      • ‘Ling another name for common heather, ling colonises both lowland and blanket bogs.’
      • ‘It thrived when tundra-like flora and fauna colonised the land as the glaciers retreated but later declined as the climate warmed.’