- to grant a franchise to; admit to citizenship, especially to the right of voting.
- to endow (a city, constituency, etc.) with municipal or parliamentary rights.
- to set free; liberate, as from slavery.
Origin of enfranchise
- to grant the power of voting to, esp as a right of citizenship
- to liberate, as from servitude
- (in England) to invest (a town, city, etc) with the right to be represented in Parliament
- English law to convert (leasehold) to freehold
Word Origin and History for enfranchisement
early 15c., "to set free," from Old French enfranchiss-, present participle stem of enfranchir "to set or make free; grant a franchise to;" from en- "make, put in" (see en- (1)) + franc "free" (see franchise).
Meaning "to admit to membership in a state" (generally with reference to voting privileges) is from 1680s. Related: Enfranchised; enfranchisement.