[ dis-en-fran-chahyz-muhnt, -chiz- ]


  1. the act of depriving a person of the rights or privileges of a citizen, especially the right to vote:

    Opponents claim that these changes to the voting registration laws will result in massive voter disenfranchisement, especially among minorities, seniors, and youth.

  2. the act of depriving a person of the rights or privileges of full participation in any community or organization, especially of the opportunity to influence policy or make one’s voice heard:

    The disenfranchisement of women at the household level, with male control over household funds, has contributed to the devaluation of women's labor.

  3. the act of depriving a person of a legal or commercial franchise:

    Persistent violations of the contract will result in the disenfranchisement of the franchisee.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of disenfranchisement1

First recorded in 1715–25; disenfranchise ( def ) + -ment ( def )

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Example Sentences

Abrams came incredibly close to winning in 2018, when voter suppression, disenfranchisement and what some would define as downright theft affected the results of the election.

From Ozy

First, women faced a color line that made the 19th Amendment a hollow promise for many who could not overcome race- and class-based disenfranchisement tactics such as literacy tests, poll taxes and persistent threats of physical violence.

The state supreme court had ruled that mail ballots could be received three days past Election Day, after the Postal Service said that delivery delays risked disenfranchisement around the state.

As far as the 2020 presidential election is concerned, many critics would point to both major candidates and their parties as having enabled this disenfranchisement of the American people, in favor of moneyed, corporate interests.

From Fortune

In a presidential election marred by voter suppression tactics, such as misinformation about vote-by-mail fraud, the weakening of Florida’s ballot measure, known as Amendment 4, may constitute the biggest single instance of voter disenfranchisement.