Definition of naturalize in US English:


(British naturalise)


[with object]
  • 1often be/become naturalizedAdmit (a foreigner) to the citizenship of a country.

    ‘he was born in a foreign country and had never been naturalized’
    • ‘Kozeny was naturalised as an Irish citizen in 1995 under the Rainbow Coalition in return for investment in an Irish software company.’
    • ‘To state more in detail, Chin Gempin was naturalized as a Japanese subject in 1659 and died in 1671.’
    • ‘Chan told Lee that many Indians and Pakistanis living in Hong Kong were finding it hard to get naturalised.’
    • ‘Come Australia Day, the family of five will officially call Australia home when they are naturalised at the citizenship ceremony to be held at the Aquarena.’
    • ‘The remaining 400,000 have become naturalized Japanese citizens.’
    • ‘In fact, we recently naturalized a person who was a terrorist.’
    • ‘Asians have generally opted to become naturalized citizens rather than permanent resident aliens in the U.S., if they are able to meet the requirements.’
    • ‘While his family were naturalised, he wasn't living at home, therefore he never got naturalised.’
    • ‘He is a man who was born in Ireland, but who became naturalized as a Thai citizen 27 years ago.’
    • ‘‘Some foreign spouses who need this kind of financial assistance may not qualify because they have yet to be naturalized as Taiwanese citizens,’ Lin said.’
    • ‘We were born there but one of the previous generations must have got naturalised.’
    • ‘But, as far as NASA is concerned, someone naturalised yesterday is just fine.’
    • ‘The United States defended its right to naturalize foreigners and rejected Britain's claim that it could legitimately practice impressment on the high seas.’
    • ‘The citizenship clause declares that anyone born or naturalized in the US is a citizen of the United States and of whatever state they reside in.’
    • ‘Certainly, many immigrants who have been naturalised as British citizens wear their citizenship lightly.’
    • ‘Under the law, ethnic minorities who want an SAR passport must first become naturalised Chinese citizens.’
    • ‘Locke was not the first naturalized foreigner to serve in the Taiwan military.’
    • ‘I accept that many Filipinos naturalized elsewhere retain their sentimental ties to the mother country and share their income and good fortune with their relatives.’
    • ‘He is a naturalised US citizen born in Jordan.’
    • ‘She is the first naturalised American citizen to win the much-coveted National Book Critics Circle Award.’
    • ‘Each state then set its own standards for naturalizing new citizens, and New York's were lax.’
    • ‘They settled all over Britain, becoming naturalised British citizens of the Roman Empire, erecting a wealth of inscriptions which attest to their assimilation and prosperity.’
    • ‘Why hasn't he taken the plunge and become naturalized and enabled himself to be in a better position to do something about this by voting?’
    grant citizenship to, make a citizen, endow with the rights of citizenship, confer citizenship on, give a passport to, enfranchise
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    1. 1.1no object (of a foreigner) be admitted to the citizenship of a country.
      ‘the opportunity to naturalize as American’
      • ‘They urged immigrants to learn English and to naturalize.’
      • ‘Slow to naturalize, Italians played a minor role in American politics until after World War II.’
      • ‘Even the Supreme Court was not as willing to allow Asian immigrants to naturalize.’
      • ‘Mark had naturalized as a citizen when his mother gained her citizenship.’
      • ‘Politically and legally, this transformation takes place when we become citizens, when we naturalize.’
      • ‘I'm born in England to a Canadian mother, so I naturalized.’
      • ‘Many superintendents embraced this idea and proceeded to naturalize.’
      • ‘In other words, countries cannot, for example, allow European immigrants to naturalize while barring Haitians.’
      assimilate, absorb, incorporate, adopt, accept, take in, homogenize
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  • 2Biology
    Establish (a plant or animal) so that it lives wild in a region where it is not indigenous.

    ‘by the 1920s, the species was naturalized in New England’
    • ‘This fern is native to southeastern Asia but is naturalized in parts of the southeastern United States.’
    • ‘The site then had a good range of flora and fauna having become naturalised, and had not been used for tipping for many years.’
    • ‘As a classic book on native and naturalised plants of Britain, Richard Mabey's Flora Britannica is hard to beat.’
    • ‘Mechanical removal of weeds is used whenever possible, and 10 per cent of the campus is now naturalized landscape instead of grass.’
    • ‘This is an account of nineteenth-century efforts to naturalize alien freshwater and anadromous fish in California.’
    • ‘Like Europeans, Americans were eager to naturalize familiar species in their new homelands.’
    • ‘To he eligible for listing in the National Register of Big Trees, a species most be recognized as native or naturalized in the continental United States, including Alaska but not Hawaii.’
    • ‘Sigesbeckia orientalis and S. jorullensis are not indigenous to Europe, but both species are naturalized.’
    • ‘Native to the Old World tropics, it is naturalized at scattered locations in the southern United States from California to Virginia.’
    • ‘The champion bluegum may be the biggest naturalized tree and the biggest hardwood in America, but for many, it's also the biggest weed.’
    • ‘They have done a wonderful job in this compilation of 195 species of native and naturalized trees of Pennsylvania.’
    • ‘A potential insect pest has been identified as a naturalised species of beetle with the help of the Department of Agriculture's website.’
    • ‘The field and herbarium study permitted us to document aposematism in the native and naturalized vascular flora of the region.’
    • ‘Of recently naturalized species, some have rapidly changing ranges and rapidly changing local abundances.’
    • ‘Many other species that began in the region in this category have escaped and become naturalized in wild areas.’
    • ‘A mix of both native and naturalized wildflower seeds was planted, and Black-eyed Susans were the predominant species.’
    • ‘Thanks to drug manufacturer Eugene Schieffelin, who wanted to naturalize all the birds in Shakespeare, we share the continent with 200 million European starlings.’
    1. 2.1 (with reference to a cultivated plant) establish or become established in a natural situation.
      with object ‘this species of crocus naturalizes itself very easily’
      • ‘Before naturalizing bulbs, look carefully at the existing plant cover.’
      • ‘When the plant is allowed to increase freely, it naturalizes and eventually forms extensive ground cover.’
      • ‘It is a very good plant for naturalizing in moist, sheltered, half-shaded locations.’
      • ‘If its soil is well drained, this little plant with its peculiarly shaped tubers will have no trouble naturalizing.’
      • ‘Muscari planted in a favorable location where no water can settle during the winter can naturalize easily in climatic zones 4-8.’
      • ‘All of these bulbs have naturalized; they now spread across the hillside.’
      • ‘This is the universally known species that naturalizes very easily, especially in moist soil that supplies sufficient nutrients.’
      • ‘The fact that this little tulip naturalizes so easily is certainly another big advantage.’
      • ‘When ‘perennializing ‘or naturalizing tulips, plant them about eight inches deep and choose a well-drained spot in the yard.’’
      • ‘The overcut bog adjacent to the farmland has been allowed to naturalise becoming an attraction and haven for wildlife.’
      • ‘Grape hyacinths or Muscari are useful spring-flowering bulbs for containers or for naturalising under shrubs and among other spring bulbs.’
      • ‘The bulbs, offered in sizes 6/8 to 8 / 10, are smaller than those of ordinary tulips and are very easy to naturalize.’
      • ‘To naturalize bulbs in your lawn, choose bulbs that blossom and fade before grass grows vigorously and requires mowing: crocus, winter aconite, snowdrops, and scilla.’
      • ‘Varieties good for naturalizing are available as well, and therefore eliminate the need to dig and replant.’
      • ‘This is always good advice for planting bulbs, and is essential for naturalizing or perennializing.’
      • ‘Corydalis is very suitable for naturalizing under trees and shrubs.’
      • ‘This is one of the best bulb plants for naturalizing.’
      • ‘Tulips, as a rule, do not naturalize well, and most species are therefore planted annually.’
      • ‘Of all the garden plants that can be naturalized, bulbs create the fewest problems.’
      • ‘The bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), which is native to moist deciduous woodlands, is perfect for naturalizing.’
      • ‘For example, bulbs like crocuses and daffodils, which are good at naturalizing, generally do well planted out after forcing.’
      establish, introduce, acclimatize, domesticate
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  • 3Alter (an adopted foreign word) so that it conforms more closely to the phonology or orthography of the adopting language.

    ‘the stoccafisso of Liguria was naturalized in Nice as stocoficada’
    • ‘Throughout the 20th century we borrowed words from the United States, and very quickly they became naturalised.’
    • ‘And, what should it do now that the terminology has been naturalized into the vernacular?’
    • ‘Eravalu Padakosha, a dictionary of loan words that have been naturalised in Kannada, runs to 250 pages and it does not include words of Sanskrit and Prakrit origin.’
    • ‘Many sounds that should seem strange to non-English speakers have been adopted and even naturalized in different countries, Spain among them.’
    • ‘More important, though, Japanese mass culture somehow naturalizes gaijin forms without integrating them.’
    • ‘In this meaning it was originally US slang, I believe, taken up and rapidly naturalised in Britain only after World War Two.’
    • ‘When he has Virgil say, ‘There's not much time to lose, so make it presto,’ we might think that he is here latching on to what could be a gift to the translator, a word used by Dante which is also naturalised in English.’
  • 4Regard as or cause to appear natural.

    ‘globalization has been naturalized as the inevitable pathway to economic prosperity and success’
    • ‘This print model has become so naturalised that it disappears.’
    • ‘It is a peculiar notion of masculinity that is naturalised and internalised in everyday practices and relationships by both men and women.’
    • ‘The writing spoke of a desire for respectability and recognition: even for social revolution to alter a system which naturalised inequality.’
    • ‘Once the life-death cycle became established in the womb of humanity, death became naturalised and perceived as a decent and an acceptable commodity for an increasing range of human problems and human needs.’
    • ‘But I can't say the same about Toscanini, whose lessons have apparently been learned and naturalized only too well and whose style is more easily imitated than the art and timbre of a great voice or soloist.’
    • ‘‘Pornography’ has now become so naturalized that the very category itself may soon be obsolete.’
    • ‘In this respect, her novel follows Morrison's formula: whiteness is naturalized, and racial alterity is figured as a threat from the border.’
    • ‘These dynamics become naturalised, made invisible by their ubiquity.’
    • ‘But ‘family values’, once a matter of stated political doctrine, have now receded from the realm of political contestation to become naturalized.’
    • ‘The family operates as a cognitive schema, which is mostly doxic, that is, invisible, naturalised and taken for granted.’
    • ‘Junto can afford to bypass the usual discourses of race, that is, as long as the racial hierarchy remains so naturalized that his power is unquestionable.’
    • ‘As more women display masculine characteristics, this threatens the bipolar construction that has become so naturalized.’
    • ‘The novel shows how a racist representation can become so naturalized through its repetition in such forms as popular music that it engages the participation of even those whom it burlesques.’
    • ‘The notion of representative bodies with public responsibility and accountability is deeply entrenched and naturalised in the white community.’
    • ‘Development theories complement official development policies, and also naturalise and legitimise underdevelopment.’
    • ‘Indeed, this book's special virtue is to historicize and demystify the material conditions of everyday life which industrial culture has tended to naturalize.’
    assimilate, absorb, incorporate, adopt, accept, take in, homogenize
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    1. 4.1 Explain (a phenomenon) in a naturalistic way.
      • ‘Landscape has relevance here because it naturalises in material form the values of the powerful, marking out moral geographies that exclude and exile feared social groups.’
      • ‘The print charts a landscape that naturalizes second-creation stories.’
      • ‘But at the same time, they are designed to naturalize death, presenting us with bodies that are slowly and unhorrifically becoming undifferentiated organic matter.’
      • ‘He is successful to the extent that he can define himself as national spokesman in order to naturalize the nation as family metaphor.’
      • ‘Against any tendency to naturalize evil, Julian sees evil as profoundly unnatural, unkind.’
      • ‘The role of romance is to assimilate the ‘progress’ of society by naturalizing history via a certain kind of historicism.’
      • ‘The above approach naturalizes consumption as an already existing, readily available set of social practices.’
      • ‘Once the map is naturalised we rarely bother to ask whether what we are looking at is ‘representation’ or ‘the world,’ and cartographers rarely bother to tell us.’
      • ‘Naturalism, in other words, naturalizes ideology.’
      • ‘English colonizers represented inferior Indians as vanishing from the American landscape while naturalizing themselves as the true ‘Americans.’’
      • ‘This georgic representation of empire, then, simultaneously naturalizes both nation and empire.’
      • ‘All the while, its residual, unofficial curriculum naturalizes a consistent image of the Canadian nation's ‘true’ founders as white British brothers of the officer class.’
      • ‘Yet at the same time, Harjo's poems naturalize these spatial worlds, presenting them as if they were our ordinary, everyday environments, as if they were nothing that should surprise us.’
      • ‘Psychoanalysis, then, becomes a discourse of exclusion, as it naturalizes the morality or immorality associated with elements of one's psychological make-up.’


Mid 16th century: from French naturaliser, from Old French natural (see natural).