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 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 One reason is because women in Massachusetts were not enfranchised until the 19th Amendment was ratified. Ysabelle Kempe, BostonGlobe.com, "Why Mass. is often overlooked role in the suffrage movement," 27 June 2019 Of course, this move was not applicable to all women; for example, Native American women were not fully enfranchised in Utah until 1956, as a result of a ruling in Utah’s Supreme Court. Kate Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Why the United States Constitution Needs An Equal Rights Amendment," 29 Oct. 2018 The two-year exercise of making Dust also succeeded in helping Wright feel re-enfranchised with co-writing again. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Adam Wright Spins Dark Revenge Tale on 'Billy, Get Your Bike': Premiere," 22 June 2018 Republicans say the integrity of the process demands ensuring that only the eligible vote, while Democrats say that voter fraud is practically nonexistent and that the goal should be to enfranchise all who are eligible. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "Supreme Court upholds Ohio's purges of its voter rolls," 11 June 2018 The bishop was a keen defender of English Jews, who were enfranchised by an act of Parliament in 1753, only to see the act repealed a year later amid anti-Semitic public protest. Jason Farago, New York Times, "‘Jacob and His Twelve Sons’: Zurbarán’s Biblical All-Stars," 14 Mar. 2018 If slavery has been destroyed merely from necessity, let every class be enfranchised at the dictation of justice. Paul Ortiz, Time, "One of History's Foremost Anti-Slavery Organizers Is Often Left Out of the Black History Month Story," 31 Jan. 2018

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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

28 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Enfranchise.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enfranchise. Accessed 25 January 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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dull or mediocre

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