disenfranchise

verb

dis·​en·​fran·​chise ˌdis-in-ˈfran-ˌchīz How to pronounce disenfranchise (audio)
disenfranchised; disenfranchising; disenfranchises

transitive verb

: to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity
especially : to deprive of the right to vote
disenfranchising the poor and elderly
disenfranchisement noun

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What Does It Mean to Disenfranchise Someone?

Disenfranchise first appeared in English in the 17th century, preceded for a period of some 200 years by the now uncommon word disfranchise. Though both words are, rather obviously, related to franchise, they have nothing to do with that word’s current sense “a team that is a member of a professional sports league." The original meaning of franchise was “freedom from servitude or restraint.” Although disenfranchise does broadly signify depriving someone of any of a number of legal rights, it is most often used today of withholding the right to vote, or of the diminished social or political status of a marginalized group.

Examples of disenfranchise in a Sentence

They disenfranchised poor people by making property ownership a requirement for registering to vote.
Recent Examples on the Web Voter watchdog groups who view these provisions as disenfranchising certain groups of voters say lawsuits are all but certain to come if House Bill 1264 becomes law. Kayla Dwyer, The Indianapolis Star, 28 Feb. 2024 In addition to legal arguments made by Trump’s team, the party’s lawyers argued that barring Trump would disenfranchise Republican voters by keeping them from choosing their preferred candidate. Nick Coltrain, The Denver Post, 7 Feb. 2024 The campaign to desegregate the American South sought to dismantle the laws and ordinances that separated and discriminated against African-Americans and disenfranchised them from voting. USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2024 Murray said the Supreme Court should address the issue now when Trump is a candidate, rather than after the election, to avoid disenfranchising voters by leaving it up to Congress later. Shannon Stevenson, the solicitor general of Colorado, also appeared. Gillian Brassil, Sacramento Bee, 8 Feb. 2024 Goldstein added that if Fong won both races and picked either office, voters who supported him for the other would be disenfranchised. Calmatters, The Mercury News, 1 Jan. 2024 But now the industrialist is engaging in the economic equivalent of Donald Trump’s Stop the Steal, encouraging his fans and supporters to believe McCormick has disenfranchised them, negating their vote for his compensation. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 But in Washington, an independent panel of commissioners has long revised the maps to avoid the common pitfalls of such redistricting, which often disenfranchises people of color or results in gerrymandering. Marilyn W. Thompson, ProPublica, 18 Jan. 2024 The hundreds of thousands of blacks who had registered to vote would be disenfranchised. Daniel Foster, National Review, 30 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disenfranchise.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1664, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disenfranchise was in 1664

Dictionary Entries Near disenfranchise

Cite this Entry

“Disenfranchise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disenfranchise. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

disenfranchise

verb
dis·​en·​fran·​chise ˌdis-ᵊn-ˈfran-ˌchīz How to pronounce disenfranchise (audio)
: to deprive of a legal right
especially : to deprive of the right to vote
disenfranchisement noun

Legal Definition

disenfranchise

transitive verb
dis·​en·​fran·​chise ˌdis-ᵊn-ˈfran-ˌchīz How to pronounce disenfranchise (audio)
disenfranchised; disenfranchising
disenfranchisement noun

More from Merriam-Webster on disenfranchise

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