Definition of migrate in US English:



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  • 1(of an animal, typically a bird or fish) move from one region or habitat to another according to the seasons.

    ‘as autumn arrives, the birds migrate south’
    • ‘In recent years genetic data has suggested that some male great white sharks migrate between South Africa and Australia.’
    • ‘Similarly, heart rate, wingbeat frequency, and respiration of birds flying in wind tunnels can now be compared to that of birds migrating in the wild.’
    • ‘The study suggests that birds migrating from Siberia to Alaska are unlikely to carry the virus and that few of those birds ultimately fly farther south.’
    • ‘These birds migrate from Mexico and, possibly, Central America to breed in the Chiricahua Mountains in the spring.’
    • ‘Magnetic cues, which help many bird species migrate, appear to be particularly important to Bobolinks.’
    • ‘All the previous birds have migrated independently after their first year.’
    • ‘In eastern North America, over two-thirds of breeding bird species migrate.’
    • ‘In eastern Washington, most birds migrate south in the fall to locations throughout the southwestern United States and central Mexico.’
    • ‘Federal officials warn that the first case of bird flu could show up in the United States in the coming weeks or months as birds migrate from overseas.’
    • ‘In the fall, Bermuda is a rest stop for birds migrating from Canada to South America.’
    • ‘Many of the birds migrating through Washington are on their way to southern South America for the winter.’
    • ‘The birds migrate to tropical forests for the winter.’
    • ‘To spawn, the fish migrate from large rivers and lakes into small streams.’
    • ‘In fall the birds migrate south, many of them to the Extremadura region in central Spain, where they winter in huge flocks.’
    • ‘During the fall and spring, many birds migrate along the river valley, and the Kittatinny Ridge is an especially important migratory corridor for raptors.’
    • ‘Washington birds appear to migrate east before turning south and migrating across the Gulf of Mexico.’
    • ‘Many birds migrate, and many of the world's frogs, lizards, and snakes lie low during cooler periods of the year.’
    • ‘During the harsh winter months, approximately 120 different species of bird migrate southwards.’
    • ‘Eastern birds may migrate south, but western populations are more often altitudinal migrants, moving from the mountains into nearby lowlands in winter.’
    • ‘Many native species migrate across the region, yet nobody can say for certain whether a 20m wide wildlife corridor is sufficient or inadequate for them.’
    roam, wander, drift, rove, travel, travel around, voyage, journey, trek, hike, itinerate, globetrot
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) move to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions.
      ‘rural populations have migrated to urban areas’
      • ‘Many villages in the regency are devoid of young people as they have all migrated to Medan, Jakarta, Surabaya and other urban areas due to a lack of jobs at home.’
      • ‘My family migrated to Australia from Scotland in 1970 when I was 7.’
      • ‘Over the past three months, tens of thousands of people have migrated to Gode, the largest town in the Ogaden area.’
      • ‘In recent years hundreds of thousands of rural people have migrated to the cities looking for jobs.’
      • ‘Second, some families have migrated to the rural backwaters of other states where farms could be purchased at much lower prices.’
      • ‘His father's brother had migrated to Australia many years before and had established a successful fruit and vegetable farm at Ormistom near Cleveland.’
      • ‘And they have poorer mental health than the people in the country they've migrated to.’
      • ‘Their women, who did not bind their feet, worked beside them in the fields and often tended the farms while their husbands migrated to the mines or to man ships, burn charcoal, or emigrate.’
      • ‘For example, many people migrated to the United States in groups and settled in the same cities as the other members of the group.’
      • ‘In 1950 Ruth and her British husband George migrated to New Zealand.’
      • ‘In places where there is no water for farming, men migrate to urban areas in search of work leaving women behind to fend for the old, and the infirm and the children.’
      • ‘We have noted that several students have migrated to the US on basketball scholarships.’
      • ‘Most of the farmers migrated to the area in the 1970s, following the paths opened by oil companies.’
      • ‘His family migrated to India just before the partition in 1947.’
      • ‘But, if they had migrated to Sweden or Norway, instead of Australia, their footprint would be far lighter.’
      • ‘Some people also migrated to cities like Managua.’
      • ‘Their children migrated to the cities and the parents had to fend for themselves.’
      • ‘In the struggle to make ends meet, they had migrated to various parts of the country.’
      • ‘Most residents are retired and many of their children have migrated to Australia.’
      • ‘Millions of people have migrated to our shores from just about every point on the globe, often to escape the physical danger and economic oppression of their own lands.’
      relocate, resettle, move, move house
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  • 2Move from one part of something to another.

    ‘cells that can form pigment migrate beneath the skin’
    • ‘When ice recrystallizes, water molecules migrate from smaller crystals to larger ones, thus increasing both crystal size and the probability of injury to the tissues.’
    • ‘We want a system that does not allow ions (salts and corrosion products) to migrate through the coating.’
    • ‘However, the efficiency of this process is low because the positive charge from the guanine radical cation also migrates to the solvent.’
    • ‘The lipid was found to migrate as a single spot under thin layer chromatography.’
    • ‘Other glycoproteins are thought to act during development to aid cells as they migrate to their proper location in the body.’
    • ‘Too high a concentration is undesirable because unused methanol migrates through the electrolyte to the cathode.’
    • ‘The lateral fluidity of the membrane allows oppositely charged lipids to migrate toward the adsorption domain to minimize the interaction free energy.’
    • ‘Soft microenvironments could be selected during the process of gelation as inert particles migrate through the forming gel.’
    • ‘Certain cells, such as fibroblasts - cells responsible for producing extracellular matrix in wound healing and tissue remodelling - will migrate along the tracks.’
    • ‘This prevents the chromophore from migrating within the polymer while simultaneously improving the efficiency of energy transfer to the chromophore.’
    • ‘There is some evidence that the phthalates in PVC can migrate into food, especially if the food is fatty or hot.’
    • ‘Wood grain PVC is considerably easier on the eye but after a decade the pigment will migrate and turn a greyish colour.’
    • ‘As a result, the fragments migrate down the gel in various distances.’
    • ‘When an electric current is passed through this molten mixture, the aluminum ions migrate to the cathode, where they are reduced to metal.’
    • ‘They demonstrated that DNA of cells embedded in a low-melting agarose microgel on microscope slides migrates in an electrophoretic field in a pattern determined by the extent of DNA damage.’
    • ‘We eventually migrated to a narrow, cobbled alleyway, an archaic space crammed with smartly dressed young people, the overflow from several dimly lit bars.’
    • ‘Charged colloidal particles will migrate in an applied electric field, a process called electrophoresis.’
    • ‘This can result in the filter migrating into and degrading the plastic - while also reducing the potency of the formulation left behind.’
    • ‘A protein in one solution might carry a positive charge in a particular medium and migrate toward the negative end of the matrix.’
    • ‘When an electric field is applied, the white particles will migrate towards the positive charge.’
    relocate, resettle, move, move house
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  • 3Computing
    Change or cause to change from one system to another.

    no object ‘customers are migrating from mainframes to client-server environments’
    with object ‘save time by efficiently migrating data to secondary storage systems’
    • ‘When TMC went out of business, users had to migrate to different systems that had less sophisticated software as well as different hardware architecture.’
    • ‘Stalker realizes many users will be migrating from another system, such as an IMAP or POP server.’
    • ‘For many current DDS users, however, migrating to an MT-based system would be an excellent choice.’
    • ‘He added that MIS is seeing more demand from users wishing to migrate from Windows-based Web server to Unix-based systems because of security concerns.’
    • ‘After all, StarOffice is free, and is more about getting computer users to migrate from Windows than anything else.’
    1. 3.1with object Transfer (programs or hardware) from one system to another.
      ‘the system will allow users to migrate applications across environments’
      • ‘The interface was designed carefully so that it can be kept stable while migrating the application.’
      • ‘Smaller software vendors in particular said they were unable to migrate applications to Linux, simply because they lack open source knowledge.’
      • ‘The market seems to approve: handset manufacturers including Nokia, Sendo and Sony Ericsson have said they will migrate their signing programs to Symbian Signed.’
      • ‘And lo and behold, Oracle has a major U2 software house migrating all of its applications to Oracle.’
      • ‘These days, every industry from pharmaceuticals to human resources has migrated their complex systems to the online environment.’


Early 17th century (in the general sense ‘move from one place to another’): from Latin migrat- ‘moved, shifted’, from the verb migrare.