dis·​fran·​chise | \(ˌ)dis-ˈfran-ˌchīz \

Definition of disfranchise 

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Other Words from disfranchise

disfranchisement \ -​ˌchīz-​mənt , -​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 disfranchise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The winner-take-all proviso for awarding state electoral votes disfranchises minority party voters. Time Staff, Time, "7 Things People Get Wrong About American History," 26 Sep. 2017 Thus began the era of segregation—a system that subordinated black Southerners economically, disfranchised them politically, and isolated them in public and private space. Garrett Epps, The Atlantic, "The True History of the South Is Not Being Erased," 11 June 2017 What Musa Sadr did was to transform a highly marginalized and disfranchised community like the Shiites into an army of activists. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "My Reunion with a Lebanese Hijacker," 4 Jan. 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of disfranchise was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for disfranchise


dis·​fran·​chise | \dis-ˈfran-ˌchīz \
disfranchised; disfranchising

Kids Definition of disfranchise

Other Words from disfranchise

disfranchisement \ -​ˌchīz-​mənt, -​chəz-​ \ noun


transitive verb
dis·​fran·​chise | \dis-ˈfran-ˌchīz \
disfranchised; disfranchising

Legal Definition of disfranchise 

: to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity especially : to deprive of the right to vote

More from Merriam-Webster on disfranchise

Spanish Central: Translation of disfranchise

Nglish: Translation of disfranchise for Spanish Speakers

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noxious or harmful

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