I heard this word years ago and can't seem to dig it out of my brain or search engines.

Specifically, the conversation was about the type of people who move from the city out to a rural town to escape, but instead they immediately start trying to change the town into the city they left. This could be minor like how they decorate their lawn, or larger, like starting an impractical business or getting into politics.

My friend was using it judgmentally, but I don't really know if the word itself has a negative connotation.

It's sort of long, and I think it could be used in a context like this:

Brian just moved here from Toronto, and he's already trying to ________ the village.

But I'm not 100% sure. If you can think of any words that don't quite fit that sentence I'd still appreciate hearing them!

The closest in meaning I can think of is "co-opt", but that isn't it.

Edit: I feel like I should add that I have never heard this word outside of this specific context. It's not a very common word as far as I can tell.

  • Welcome to EL&U. I thought of 'conscript' as used in its metaphorical sense.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 2:01
  • 1
    Maybe “gentrify”?  Try looking for synonyms for “terraform”. Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 4:18
  • @Scott YES, gentrify! If you post that as an answer I'll mark it as accepted. Now that I've looked it up, I see that the definition is narrower than I thought it was.
    – Obscerno
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 12:47
  • Don't you think that's a rather casual use of gentrify, whcih is normally at least as specific as google.co.uk/…. Don't you think co-opt has nothing to do with change? Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 0:00
  • @RobbieGoodwin Yes, the true definition of the word is not as broad as how I had interpreted it at the time; my friend was being hyperbolic to make a joke and stretched the meaning a bit. Re co-opt: I think it could. It may not refer to physical change, but taking something and making it your own is a change of sorts, at least in what it means to others. I agree that it's not even close to the kind of change I was looking for with this question though.
    – Obscerno
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 3:34

2 Answers 2


Brian just moved here from Toronto, and he's already trying to colonize the village.


In looking for a single word, I started looking for assimilate synonyms. It was a good place to start because you are defining a person whose established norms are from another culture, who moved into a different cultural norm, and brought the previous cultural ideas with them as they assimilate. That came up with: acculturation cultural modification of an individual, group, also : a merging of cultures as a result of prolonged contact. It will not work in your sentence structure though. "Brian just moved here from Toronto, and he's already trying to bring an acculturation to the village." Fits better.

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