citizen

noun
cit·​i·​zen | \ ˈsi-tə-zən How to pronounce citizen (audio) also -sən\

Definition of citizen

1 : an inhabitant of a city or town especially : one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
2a : a member of a state
b : a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it She was an American citizen but lived most of her life abroad.
3 : a civilian as distinguished from a specialized servant of the state Soldiers were sent to protect the citizens.

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Other Words from citizen

citizenly \ ˈsi-​tə-​zən-​lē How to pronounce citizenly (audio) also  -​sən-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for citizen

Synonyms

freeman, national, subject

Antonyms

alien, noncitizen

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of citizen in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Chanting slogans and words of encouragement to their fellow citizens, demonstrators then headed west through a popular shopping destination dotted with luxury shops and toward a major rail hub where visitors from mainland China arrive. NBC News, "Hong Kong protesters march again, aiming to take their message to mainland Chinese," 7 July 2019 Hong Kong citizens had never taken over a government building like this. Alice Su, latimes.com, "In Hong Kong, one protester pulls off his mask and defines a movement," 6 July 2019 The Land of the Midnight Sun, though, isn’t content to just have its citizens zip about in emission-free silence. Brett Berk, WIRED, "Norway Invites You to Explore Its Electric Vehicle Paradise," 6 July 2019 Will Nichole’s return set the legal precedent for Gilead determining which of its citizens can stay and which must return? Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 3, Episode 7 Recap: A Criminal Record," 5 July 2019 This followed mass demonstrations last month against Lam’s extradition bill, which critics fear could see Hong Kong citizens sent for trial in the mainland. Reuters, The Mercury News, "Hong Kong leader seeks meeting with students after mass protests," 4 July 2019 The remarkable grace and civility that millions of Hong Kong citizens have shown in their demonstrations corroborate that assertion. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "The Disillusion and Frustration of a New Generation is Fuelling Hong Kong’s Protests," 3 July 2019 The protests began as opposition to a bill Lam was pushing that would allow China to extradite Hong Kong citizens. Javier C. Hernández, BostonGlobe.com, "China calls Hong Kong protesters who stormed legislature ‘extreme radicals’," 2 July 2019 But Hong Kong citizens understand the implicit threat behind this seemingly innocuous proposal. Gerold Firl, Pomerado News, "Guest column: The new June in China," 26 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'citizen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of citizen

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for citizen

Middle English citizein, from Anglo-French citezein, alteration of citeien, from cité city

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Statistics for citizen

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for citizen

The first known use of citizen was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for citizen

citizen

noun

English Language Learners Definition of citizen

: 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

citizen

noun
cit·​i·​zen | \ ˈsi-tə-zən How to pronounce citizen (audio) \

Kids Definition of citizen

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

citizen

noun
cit·​i·​zen

Legal Definition of citizen

1 : a native or naturalized individual who owes allegiance to a government (as of a state or nation) and is entitled to the enjoyment of governmental protection and to the exercise of civil rights — see also Scott v. Sandford — compare resident

Note: Under the Fourteenth Amendment, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” A person born outside of the U.S. to parents who were born or naturalized in the U.S. is also a citizen of the U.S. A corporation is not considered a citizen for purposes of the privileges and immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A corporation is, however, deemed a citizen of the state in which it is incorporated or has its principal place of business for purposes of diversity jurisdiction.

2 : a resident of a town or state who is also a U.S. native or was naturalized in the U.S.

History and Etymology for citizen

Anglo-French citezein, alteration of Old French citeien, from cité city

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More from Merriam-Webster on citizen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for citizen

Spanish Central: Translation of citizen

Nglish: Translation of citizen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of citizen for Arabic Speakers

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