col·o·ny / ˈkälənē/ • n. (pl. -nies) 1. a country or area under the full or partial political control of another country, typically a distant one, and occupied by settlers from that country. ∎ a group of people living in such a country or area, consisting of the original settlers and their descendants and successors. ∎ (the Colonies) chiefly British term for Thirteen Colonies. ∎ (the colonies) all the foreign countries or areas formerly under British political control.2. a group of people of one nationality or ethnic group living in a foreign city or country: the British colony in New York. ∎ a place where a group of people with similar interests live together: an artists' colony.3. Biol. a community of animals or plants of one kind living together or forming a physically connected structure. ∎ a group of fungi or bacteria grown from a single spore or cell on a culture medium.ORIGIN: 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.’
1. (in zoology) A group of animals of the same species living together and dependent upon each other. Some, such as the corals and sponges, are physically connected and function as a single unit. Others, such as insect colonies, are not physically joined but show a high level of social organization with members specialized for different functions (see caste).
2. (in microbiology) A group of microorganisms, usually bacteria or yeasts, that are considered to have developed from a single parent cell. Colonies that grow on agar plates differ in shape, colour, surface texture, and translucency and can therefore be used as a means of identification.
a group of people transported to another place or part of the world; a collection of people associated with a craft, occupation, decorative art, etc.; a number of animals or plants in a group. See also community.
Examples: colony of ants—Lipton, 1970; of artists; of auks [on land]; of avocets; of badgers; of bats; of bees, 1713; of beggars, 1737; of chinchilla; of cormorants; of frogs; of gulls; of ibises; of lepers; of mice; of monks, 1844; of musicians, 1711; of penguins; of sparrows, 1840; of voles; of vampires.
Hence colonial XVIII, colonize XVII (whence colonist XVIII).