en·​fran·​chise | \ in-ˈfran-ˌchīz How to pronounce enfranchise (audio) , en- \
enfranchised; enfranchising

Definition of enfranchise

transitive verb

1 : to set free (as from slavery)
2 : to endow with a franchise: such as
a : to admit to the privileges of a citizen and especially to the right of suffrage
b : to admit (a municipality) to political privileges or rights

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Other Words from enfranchise

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

Examples of enfranchise in a Sentence

in a way, modern labor-saving appliances enfranchised people, giving them much more leisure time
Recent Examples on the Web The question is why Republicans, particularly those schooled in McConnell’s procedural will to power, would help enfranchise people who aren’t likely to vote Republican anytime soon. Kevin Mahnken, The New Republic, "The Democrats’ Future Depends on D.C. Statehood," 25 June 2020 While supporters have touted its ability to enfranchise Americans with disabilities and those serving overseas — both groups with dismal voting turnout — the company has largely been quiet about addressing security concerns. Kevin Collier, NBC News, "Voatz smartphone voting app has significant security flaws, MIT researchers say," 13 Feb. 2020 Local officials are fearful that enfranchising them would only bring fresh waves of migrants. Bloomberg.com, "China Loosens Urban Residency Restrictions to Spur Growth," 11 May 2020 Florida has a particularly fraught history with re-enfranchising former felons. Lauren Lantry, ABC News, "Over 1 million former felons still face hurdles after being given right to vote," 8 Mar. 2020 The Republican Party had initially attracted many black voters by supporting ending slavery and enfranchising African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Time, "Was Martin Luther King Jr. a Republican or a Democrat? The Answer Is Complicated," 17 Jan. 2020 The current Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, has supported re-enfranchising former felons, but the State Legislature has not acted on the matter. Michael Wines, New York Times, "Kentucky Gives Voting Rights to Some 140,000 Former Felons," 12 Dec. 2019 The Background The 1965 Voting Rights Act enfranchised millions of black people in the South who had been barred from voting by poll taxes, literacy tests and other such laws. Washington Post, "Voting Rights," 6 Mar. 2015 The Fifteenth Amendment, which enfranchised black men, was part of a calculation meant to produce more Republican voters. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "The Supreme Court Just Legitimized a Cornerstone Element of Voter Suppression," 3 July 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for enfranchise

Middle English, from Anglo-French enfranchiss-, stem of enfranchir, from en- + franc free — more at frank

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Time Traveler for enfranchise

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

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Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enfranchise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enfranchise. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for enfranchise


How to pronounce enfranchise (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of enfranchise

formal : to give (someone) the legal right to vote


transitive verb
en·​fran·​chise | \ in-ˈfran-ˌchīz How to pronounce enfranchise (audio) \
enfranchised; enfranchising

Legal Definition of enfranchise

: to grant franchise to especially : to admit to the privileges of a citizen and especially to voting rights the Twenty-sixth Amendment enfranchised all citizens over 18 years of age — compare emancipate

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More from Merriam-Webster on enfranchise

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enfranchise

Spanish Central: Translation of enfranchise

Nglish: Translation of enfranchise for Spanish Speakers

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