In 1750 there were thirteen British "colonies" on the east coast of North America. If I'm not mistaken, the words "colony" and "province" were both used at the time to refer to any of those.
Today the word "colony" is often used to mean a state ruled by another state, so that one might hear it said that after the war of 1898 the Philippines became an American "colony".
I think the term also means a geographic region that gets populated by a large number of people who have relocated from another country with the result that those who came from that other country or their descendants outnumber and dominate the indigenous population.
Either of those two senses is applicable to the thirteen colonies. But when people in the 18th century used the word, did it mean the first of the two senses, or the second, or something else?
One data point is that the Articles of Confederation (proposed by Congress in late 1777 and ratified and effective as of early 1781) say that other "colonies" can be admitted to the Union as new states provided nine states consent. (I presume that means nine votes in Congress, where each state at that time could cast one vote.) But actual discussions in Congress of the admission of new states concerned the de-facto independent republic of Vermont (which was repeatedly denied admission in 1777 through 1785 because the state of New York adamantly and vociferously objected, saying Vermont was legally a part of New York and the government that in fact existed there was illegal) and Kentucky, which was a part of Virginia. (The legislature of Virginia had consented to the separation of Kentucky from Virginia. Congress's deliberations on whether to admit Kentucky were interrupted by a notification that the proposed new Constitution had been ratified by the ninth state, New Hampshire, so that it was in effect and so the new two-house Congress had to get elected. They decided that was not a good time to admit a new state. (That was only the first in a series of delays in the admission of Kentucky.)) In 1787 Congress also decided that at least three new states should be created in the territory northwest of the Ohio, and some have suggested that that exceeded their powers under the Articles.