It Takes a Long Time to Settle in

At Immigration in Thailand
by ijac

To settle in is a phrasal verb and it basically means:

to get used to
to become accustomed to
to start to feel comfortable
to start to feel at home

Moving and Settling in to a New Home

Have you recently moved to a new home or a new school or a new workplace?

The Use of “manage to” PLUS verb

Have you settled in?
Have you managed to settle in?

The Verb – Settle

The verb “settle” means “to come to rest”. It is a common verb with many nuances. Let’s look at some of the meanings and uses.

Sediment Settles

If you have a bottle of water with a little sand in it and you shake it, the sand will swirl around as you shake the bottle, but after a while, when you stop shaking the bottle, the particles of sand will sink to the bottom. This action of sinking is called settling. The sand sinks to the bottom and becomes sediment.

To settle means to come to rest after a period of movement.

Phrasal Verb – to settle in

We saw the phrasal verb “to settle in” above. It means “to get used to a new place”.

Phrasal Verb – settle down

The phrasal verb “settle down” means “to calm down”.

After she saw the accident she needed a drink to settle down.
After he saw the accident she couldn’t calm down.
After they saw the accident they couldn’t settle down.

Legal Meaning of “Settle”

When a house has been sold the contract is usually subject to some conditions. One of these conditions might be a period of time. After that period of times expires, for example after three months, we say:

It has settled.


The contract has settled.

Colonial History


People who came to America and Australia from Europe were called “settlers”. We can look at this word in a couple of ways.

We could say:

The immigrants settled down.

Settling Down

To “settle down” means “to stop moving about and stay in one place.”

Settling the Land

We also here this odd turn of phrase:

They came to settle the land.

This contains the odd idea that the land is wild and subject to movement but the settlers come in and settle the land as if they were calming it and stopping it from moving about.

Nomads and Settlers

Nomads are people who move about, usually following seasonal food sources. Settlers or “civilised people” are people who settle in one place.

The vocabulary of this topic goes deeply to western ideas about land and land use and the rights of indigenous people.

Noun – Settlement

In pioneering history or colonial history, a settlement is a small town or village which people carve out of the wilderness.

Early Settlers

The first people to come from Europe to live in a new colony were called: “early settlers”.

The idea of settlers and settlement and settling the land makes us think the land is wild and rough and it has to be tamed and settled.

The pioneers came in and settled the land.

Colonisation and Settlement

Was your country settled or colonised by Europeans?

Indonesia was colonised by the Dutch.
Australia was colonised by the English.
Colombia was colonised by the Spanish.
Brazil was colonised by the Portuguese.

Early History

Tell us about the early history of your nation. Write about it in the comments section below.

Links to More Lessons

The Verb Page – information about verbs and tenses

Notes on Passive Voice

History and Geography – links to films and vocabulary lessons

The Time Page
The Vocabulary of Immigration
Present Perfect Tense
Vocabulary is the Key

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