Definition of naturalize in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnætʃ(ə)rəˌlaɪz/


[with object]
1 (often be/become naturalized) Admit (a foreigner) to the citizenship of a country: he was born in a foreign country and had never been naturalized (as adjective naturalized) a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Germany
More example sentences
  • Locke was not the first naturalized foreigner to serve in the Taiwan military.
  • The United States defended its right to naturalize foreigners and rejected Britain's claim that it could legitimately practice impressment on the high seas.
  • He is a naturalised US citizen born in Jordan.
1.1 [no object] (Of a foreigner) be admitted to the citizenship of a country: the opportunity to naturalize as American
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • They urged immigrants to learn English and to naturalize.
1.2Alter (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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • And, what should it do now that the terminology has been naturalized into the vernacular?
2 (usually as adjective naturalized) Biology Establish (a plant or animal) so that it lives wild in a region where it is not indigenous: native and naturalized species black mustard has become naturalized in America
More example sentences
  • The field and herbarium study permitted us to document aposematism in the native and naturalized vascular flora of the region.
  • Sigesbeckia orientalis and S. jorullensis are not indigenous to Europe, but both species are naturalized.
  • Of recently naturalized species, some have rapidly changing ranges and rapidly changing local abundances.
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
More example sentences
  • Of all the garden plants that can be naturalized, bulbs create the fewest problems.
  • All of these bulbs have naturalized; they now spread across the hillside.
  • This is one of the best bulb plants for naturalizing.
3Regard as or cause to appear natural: globalization has been naturalized as the inevitable pathway to economic prosperity and success
More example sentences
  • Development theories complement official development policies, and also naturalise and legitimise underdevelopment.
  • These dynamics become naturalised, made invisible by their ubiquity.
  • 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.
3.1Explain (a phenomenon) in a naturalistic way.
Example sentences
  • Against any tendency to naturalize evil, Julian sees evil as profoundly unnatural, unkind.
  • 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.
  • He is successful to the extent that he can define himself as national spokesman in order to naturalize the nation as family metaphor.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: nat·u·ral·ize

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