Synonym Chooser

How is the word citizen distinct from other similar nouns?

The words national and subject are common synonyms of citizen. While all three words mean "a person owing allegiance to and entitled to the protection of a sovereign state," citizen is preferred for one owing allegiance to a state in which sovereign power is retained by the people and sharing in the political rights of those people.

the rights of a free citizen

Where would national be a reasonable alternative to citizen?

Although the words national and citizen have much in common, national designates one who may claim the protection of a state and applies especially to one living or traveling outside that state.

American nationals working in the Middle East

When could subject be used to replace citizen?

The meanings of subject and citizen largely overlap; however, subject implies allegiance to a personal sovereign such as a monarch.

the king's subjects

Thesaurus Entries Near citizen

Cite this Entry

“Citizen.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on citizen

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Standardized Test Words, Vol. 2

  • a pencil broken in half on top of a test answer sheet
  • The business’s new computer system proved not to be a panacea.
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?