If a person was born and brought up in country A, at some point went to live in country B (as an adult) for a few years and then moved back to country A, is there a single word to describe that person's situation?

  • He/She is back home! – Sayan Feb 28 '13 at 7:04

The OED has the noun repatriate to mean someone who has been restored to their (own or original) country. Examples given there include:

  • The majority of these repatriates have the choice of living on totally inadequate means or entering the workhouse.
  • Seven ships have been named as bringing repatriates home to Britain.
  • Mrs Meir, the Prime Minister, and··the Defence Minister, were among those at Lod airport today to give the repatriates a heroes’ welcome.
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    I don't believe it has that connotation at all. – Hellion Feb 27 '13 at 17:11
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    @camden_kid That would be closer to a deportee. ODO has a helpful entry for repatriate. – coleopterist Feb 27 '13 at 17:59
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    @coleopterist Though that would be out of a country. You'd have to mangle some Latin and get an adportee. :P – deadly Mar 1 '13 at 11:59
  • I'm hesitant about marking this as the answer because it doesn't 'feel' right but also the three examples indicate external forces influencing the return of the repatriates. – camden_kid Mar 1 '13 at 13:06
  • @camden_kid If you look at the examples for the verb, whence the noun derives, there is no theme of some sort of forced repatriation. It might be that they had been in exile, or rescued, or many other things. – tchrist Mar 2 '13 at 1:17

Remigrant comes to mind.


REMIGRANT: a migrant who returns

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  • Remigrant. Does not appear in Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries. – Rigoleta Mar 6 '13 at 7:56

It is not often used as a noun, (at least not compared to (a) its opposite, expatriate, nor (b) the verb form repatriate, [the important pronunciation difference being, I think--and there may be UK/N Am differences here--that the verb has stress on the second syllable and pronounces it--re-PAY-tri-ate, and the noun, while also stressing the second syllable, pronouns it--re-PA-tri-ate. Be that as it may, the best noun I can come up with is repatriate.

I am Canadian, and for example, a decade ago, an expatriate Canadian, Michael Ignatieff, moved back to Canada after a twenty or thirty year absence living and working in America and the U.K., in order to become the leader of the Canadian Liberal Party. You could say he repatriated himself, or that he became a repatriate. (Ignatieff's story did not end well; after losing two federal Canadian elections, Ignatieff resigned from politics and currently serves as a professor at the University of Toronto. His extended expatriate status was a huge issue in both of the elections he lost; it is an illustrative example of how to use these terms.)

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  • +1 for the first 8 words, which are significantly missing from the top answer. – FumbleFingers Mar 1 '13 at 22:51

How about repat? It would be the opposite of expat.

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  • Not bad :-) I prefer it to repatriate but I'm not sure it's a word in the dictionary. – camden_kid Mar 5 '13 at 20:27

Returned emigrant, which does imply someone away for years, in double figures perhaps.

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