citizen

noun cit·i·zen \ ˈsi-tə-zən also -sən \

Definition of citizen

1 :an inhabitant of a city or town; especially :one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
2 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
  • 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.

citizenly

play \-zən-lē also -sən-\ adjective

Examples of citizen in a Sentence

  1. She was a United States citizen but lived most of her life abroad.

  2. a group of Japanese citizens

Recent Examples of citizen from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of citizen

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

citizen Synonyms

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


CITIZEN Defined for Kids

citizen

noun cit·i·zen \ ˈsi-tə-zən \

Definition of citizen for Students

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

Law Dictionary

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.

Origin and Etymology of citizen

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


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