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noun cit·i·zen \ˈsi-tə-zən also -sən\

: a person who legally belongs to a country and has the rights and protection of that country

: a person who lives in a particular place

Full Definition of CITIZEN

:  an inhabitant of a city or town; especially :  one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
a :  a member of a state
b :  a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it
:  a civilian as distinguished from a specialized servant of the state
cit·i·zen·ly \-zən-lē also -sən-\ adjective

Examples of CITIZEN

  1. She was a United States citizen but lived most of her life abroad.
  2. a group of Japanese citizens

Origin of CITIZEN

Middle English citizein, from Anglo-French citezein, alteration of citeien, from cité city
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of CITIZEN

citizen, subject, national mean a person owing allegiance to and entitled to the protection of a sovereign state. citizen is preferred for one owing allegiance to a state in which sovereign power is retained by the people and sharing in the political rights of those people <the rights of a free citizen>. subject implies allegiance to a personal sovereign such as a monarch <the king's subjects>. national designates one who may claim the protection of a state and applies especially to one living or traveling outside that state <American nationals working in the Middle East>.

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism
CITIZENLY Defined for Kids


noun cit·i·zen \ˈsi-tə-zən\

Definition of CITIZEN for Kids

:  a person who lives in a particular place <the citizens of Boston>
:  a person who legally belongs to, gives allegiance to, and has the rights and protections of a country


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