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

Definition of disenfranchise

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

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Other Words from disenfranchise

disenfranchisement \ ˌdis-​in-​ˈfran-​ˌchīz-​mənt How to pronounce disenfranchisement (audio) , -​chəz-​ \ noun

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 In anticipation of high jinks to disenfranchise voters through long lines, etc. The Washington Post, "Chatological Humor with Gene Weingarten," 30 June 2020 That would give Nissan the right to acquire Renault shares in order to disenfranchise Renault or take it over, he is said to have written in the memo. Reed Stevenson, Bloomberg.com, "Nissan Email Trail Casts New Light on Carlos Ghosn Takedown," 15 June 2020 As the Brennan Center further noted, these Republican efforts to disenfranchise African-Americans have intensified in recent years. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "The Georgia Primary and the State of Voting Rights," 11 June 2020 These days, my place in this fight is to use my voice and my platform to call out those who aren’t doing their part, including companies that continue to disenfranchise people of color. Erin Parker, Glamour, "How Black Women Are Taking Care of Themselves Right Now," 9 June 2020 The practise was used in the late 19th and 20th Century when Jim Crow laws were enacted to disenfranchise Black communities. Erin Corbett, refinery29.com, "Police In The US Are Beating People To The Ground To Enforce The Racist Curfew," 6 June 2020 Democrats say Republicans are trying to disenfranchise younger and minority voters, who historically have voted by mail in lower numbers than other groups and are less familiar with the practice. Anchorage Daily News, "As Trump attacks voting by mail, GOP builds 2020 strategy around limiting its expansion," 2 June 2020 New Jersey’s first constitution, in 1776, granted voting rights to women and African Americans, though the state disenfranchised both groups in 1807. Stephanie Barclay, Twin Cities, "Stephanie Barclay: 5 myths about the Constitution," 11 Nov. 2019 Voter fraud is more often used as an excuse to enact restrictive measures like voter-ID laws, which can have the practical effect of disenfranchising thousands of otherwise-eligible voters. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Blue Wave That Saved the Vote," 22 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disenfranchise.' 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 disenfranchise

1664, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for disenfranchise

Time Traveler

The first known use of disenfranchise was in 1664

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Statistics for disenfranchise

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disenfranchise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disenfranchise. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for disenfranchise


How to pronounce disenfranchise (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disenfranchise

: to prevent (a person or group of people) from having the right to vote


dis·​en·​fran·​chise | \ ˌdi-sᵊn-ˈfran-ˌchīz How to pronounce disenfranchise (audio) \
disenfranchised; disenfranchising

Kids Definition of disenfranchise

: to deprive of the right to vote

Other Words from disenfranchise

disenfranchisement \ -​ˈfran-​ˌchīz-​mənt \ noun


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

Legal Definition of disenfranchise

Other Words from disenfranchise

disenfranchisement noun

More from Merriam-Webster on disenfranchise

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Spanish Central: Translation of disenfranchise

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