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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

The bill has since been withdrawn by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, but the protests have continued after morphing into a broader rejection of China's growing influence and its impact on the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong citizens. NBC News, "Hong Kong police fire tear gas, water cannon as violence flares after protesters defy ban," 15 Sep. 2019 The freedom dividend, says Yang, will allow citizens to take care of their basic needs. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Andrew Yang's 2020 Dark-Horse Presidential Platform," 12 Sep. 2019 Unlike Europe, which has a long history of its people being the subjects of some king or feudal lord, America was founded as a democratic republic made up of citizens governing themselves. Romina Boccia, Twin Cities, "Romina Boccia: ‘When we leave here today, we are free’," 10 Sep. 2019 But the idea of citizens celebrating their political differences over a picnic is catching on elsewhere. R.d. | Paide, The Economist, "Why democracy festivals, a staple in northern Europe, are spreading," 9 Sep. 2019 Over the decades, American educators have cherished the residence hall as a transformational space in which adolescents turned into adult, morally conscious citizens. Carla Yanni, Smithsonian, "How College Dorms Evolved to Fit America’s Gender and Racial Politics," 6 Sep. 2019 Jonathan Mummolo, a political scientist at Princeton University, New Jersey, argues that the real question to ask in order to detect racial bias is the reverse: does a citizen of a certain race face a greater chance of getting shot by the police? Lynne Peeples, Scientific American, "What the Data Say about Police Shootings," 5 Sep. 2019 Despite the fact that more than 300,000 German citizens reside in this city—which includes a university and an iconic castle—a tongue-in-cheek conspiracy theory posits that Bielefeld is not an actual place. Megan Uy, House Beautiful, "A German Town Is Offering $1.1 Million to Anyone Who Can Prove It's Not a Real Place," 22 Aug. 2019 This pro-police stance is wildly at odds with the views of the tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens who have been demonstrating in the streets for months and clashed with police numerous times. Allegra Frank, Vox, "How the Hong Kong protests created the #BoycottMulan campaign," 16 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about citizen

Statistics for citizen

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for citizen

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on citizen

What made you want to look up citizen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!