Expatriate (Expat)

An Expatriate (‘expat’ for short) is an individual living in a country other than his or her country of citizenship, often temporarily and for work reasons. An expatriate can also be an individual who has relinquished citizenship in their home country to become a citizen of another.

The word expatriate comes from two Latin terms: ex, meaning “out of”, and patria, meaning “country, fatherland.” Some who hear the term assume that it means unpatriotic, taking “ex” to mean “not,” and therefore think it has a negative connotation. But as the roots of the word show, it only denotes a person that is no longer in their country of birth.

While the definition matches what many would simply call immigrants, expatriate is more often the term used when Americans live abroad. Expatriate is often used to describe professionals sent abroad by their companies or governments. This is one differentiation from immigrant. Expatriates are still working for and getting paid by a firm or organization in their home country, while immigrants often move to a new country to find work and other opportunities.

 

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