[ sit-uh-zuh n, -suh n ]
/ ˈsɪt ə zən, -sən /


a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection (distinguished from alien).
an inhabitant of a city or town, especially one entitled to its privileges or franchises.
an inhabitant, or denizen: The deer is a citizen of our woods.
a civilian, as distinguished from a soldier, police officer, etc.

Nearby words

  1. cithara,
  2. cither,
  3. citied,
  4. citified,
  5. citify,
  6. citizen journalism,
  7. citizen kane,
  8. citizen science,
  9. citizen's arrest,
  10. citizen's charter

Origin of citizen

1275–1325; Middle English citisein < Anglo-French citesein, Old French citeain, equivalent to cite city + -ain -an; Anglo-French s perhaps by association with deinzain denizen

Related formscit·i·zen·ly, adjectivenon·cit·i·zen, nounun·cit·i·zen·ly, adjectiveun·der·cit·i·zen, noun

Can be confusedcitizen resident Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for citizen

British Dictionary definitions for citizen


/ (ˈsɪtɪzən) /


a native registered or naturalized member of a state, nation, or other political communityCompare alien
an inhabitant of a city or town
a native or inhabitant of any place
a civilian, as opposed to a soldier, public official, etc
Related formsRelated adjective: civil

Derived Formscitizeness (ˈsɪtɪzənɪs, -ˌnɛs), fem ncitizenly, adjective

Word Origin for citizen

C14: from Anglo-French citesein, from Old French citeien, from cité, city

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for citizen



early 14c., "inhabitant of a city," from Anglo-French citezein (spelling subsequently altered, probably by influence of denizen), from Old French citeien "city-dweller, town-dweller, citizen" (12c., Modern French citoyen), from cite (see city) + -ain (see -ian). Replaced Old English burhsittend and ceasterware. Sense of "inhabitant of a country" is late 14c. Citizen's arrest recorded from 1941; citizen's band (radio) from 1947. Citizen of the world (late 15c.) translates Greek kosmopolites.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper