Definition of colony in English:


Syllabification: col·o·ny
Pronunciation: /ˈkälənē

noun (plural colonies)

  • 1A country or area under the full or partial political control of another country, typically a distant one, and occupied by settlers from that country.
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    • Imperial self-assertion required first of all that Italy seize full control of the colonies it already possessed.
    • Britain obtained German colonies and full command of the European seas.
    • Canberra used the conflict to seize control of German colonies, in particular German New Guinea, the Solomons and other islands.
    settlement, dependency, protectorate, satellite, territory, outpost, province
  • 1.1A group of people living in colony, consisting of the original settlers and their descendants and successors.
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    • German success in Europe in 1940 had orphaned French and Dutch colonies in the region and they became the focus of Japanese attention.
    • The accepted strategy of establishing colonies and controlling a lucrative trade to and from them never really worked for the Dutch in the Atlantic, at least not for long.
    • The territories thus depopulated were then occupied by well organized colonies from Germany.
  • 1.2 (the Colonies) chiefly British term for Thirteen Colonies.
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    • The war petered out, and the colonies gained their collective independence.
    • In 1787, delegates of the colonies adopted the United States Constitution.
    • The practice persisted in the United States even after the colonies declared their independence.
  • 1.3 (the colonies) All the foreign countries or areas formerly under British political control.
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    • I'm beginning to forget what's so bad about British rule in the colonies.
    • A number of tables and graphs purport to show the great improvements which the British brought to the colonies.
    • They lack the moral grit that sent so much of the flower of Oxbridge out to the colonies during the heyday of the British Empire.
  • 2A group of people of one nationality or ethnic group living in a foreign city or country: the British colony in New York
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    • He mobilized the elite of the American colony in Paris into a volunteer committee, whose first task was to help stranded tourists obtain money.
    • The first and largest Irish colony in London could be found in St Giles in the Fields.
    • There was an important Italian colony in London, mostly of Florentines and Lucchese, dealing in silk and silk fabrics.
  • 2.1A place where a group of people with similar interests live together: an artists' colony
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    • Life would be so much easier if we lived in a nudist colony, where the way we really looked meant more to others than the clothes we wore.
    • It is all that remains of the leper colony which once occupied the site.
    • In its first phase it was no more than a trading station, which most likely provided the base for a colony of foreign merchants.
  • 3 Biology A community of animals or plants of one kind living close together or forming a physically connected structure: a colony of seals
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    • All you have to do is dive near any large seal colony and let the animals' natural curiosity and playfulness do the rest.
    • Thought to be extinct, a last colony of 18 animals was discovered in Wyoming in 1981, and now there are some 1,600 in the West.
    • About 11 colonies of the plant are found in two locations in the northern area of the city of Scotts Valley, along with other locally rare plant species.
  • 3.1A group of fungi or bacteria grown from a single spore or cell on a culture medium.
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    • They can culture and maintain colonies of the stem cells.
    • By growing a human stem cell colony from a single cell, researchers are one step closer to deriving a homogenous population of cells of a particular type.
    • We tested this by restreaking cells from colonies grown for 15-96 hours.


late Middle English (denoting a settlement formed mainly of retired soldiers, acting as a garrison in newly conquered territory in the Roman Empire): from Latin colonia 'settlement, farm', from colonus 'settler, farmer', from colere 'cultivate'.

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