Emigrate vs. Immigrate

Alison Chaplin

Language can be a bit confusing, and there are some words that can leave us a bit puzzled. Take “emigrate vs. immigrate,” for example. They might look alike, but they mean different things. Let’s dig into these terms and figure out what sets them apart, using some everyday examples to make it clearer.

What are the Definitions?

To start, it’s essential to understand the roots of these words. “Emigrate” comes from the Latin “emigrare,” where “e” means ‘out of,’ and “migrare” means ‘to move.’ “Immigrate” also has Latin roots, originating from “immigrare,” where “im-” means ‘into,’ and “migrare” again means ‘to move.’


When you emigrate, you leave your country to live elsewhere. It implies a permanent or long-term move away. Let’s look at the key aspects of emigrating:

DirectionMoving out of one’s country or region.
Point of ViewFrom the perspective of the origin country.
Key Phrase“Leaving from.”
ExampleSarah decided to emigrate from Canada for studies in the UK.


On the flip side, immigrating involves entering and settling in a new country. It’s about arriving and making a home somewhere else. Let’s delve into the aspects of immigrating:

DirectionMoving into a different country or region.
Point of ViewFrom the perspective of the destination country.
Key Phrase“Moving into.”
ExampleJuan chose to immigrate to the US for job opportunities.

Distinguishing Factors:


  • Emigrate: Seen from the origin country’s viewpoint.
  • Immigrate: Seen from the destination country’s viewpoint.


  • Emigrate: Involves leaving or exiting.
  • Immigrate: Involves entering or arriving.

Key Phrases:

  • Emigrate: “Leaving from.”
  • Immigrate: “Moving into.”

What is the Difference between “Emigrate vs. Immigrate”?

“Emigrate” means leaving one’s country, viewed from the origin country’s perspective, while “immigrate” involves entering a new country, seen from the destination country’s viewpoint. The key phrases are “leaving from” and “moving into,” respectively.

Do Emigrate and Immigrate are Used as a Noun, Verb, or Adjective?

“Emigrate” and “immigrate” are primarily used as verbs. They describe the action of moving from one country to another (emigrate) or arriving and settling in a new country (immigrate).


  • Verb: The term “emigrate” is primarily used as a verb. It describes the action of leaving one’s own country to settle permanently in another.
  • Example: “Many people decided to emigrate from the war-torn country in search of a better life.”


  • Verb: “Immigrate” is also used as a verb. It refers to the action of coming to a foreign country to live permanently.
  • Example: “The family chose to immigrate to Canada in pursuit of new opportunities.”


  • You can also use the nouns “emigrant” and “immigrant” to refer to a person who emigrates or immigrates, respectively.
  • Example: “She became an emigrant when she left her homeland.” / “He is an immigrant who arrived in the country last year.”

Adjective Forms:

  • Both words can be used as adjectives to describe the process or status of moving between countries.
  • Example: “The immigration process can be complex.” / “They faced various challenges as emigrant workers.”


In conclusion, grasping the subtle differences between “emigrate” and “immigrate” is crucial for clear communication. The examples and tables break down the distinct perspectives and directions tied to each term, making it easier to navigate these commonly confused words.