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From Middle English citeseyn, citezein, borrowed from Anglo-Norman citesain (burgher; city-dweller), citezein &c., probably a variant of cithein under influence of deinzein (denizen), from Anglo-Norman and Old French citeain &c. and citaien, citeien &c. ("burgher"; modern French citoyen), from cité ("settlement; cathedral city, city"; modern French cité) + -ain or -ien (-an, -ian). See city and hewe.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɪtɪzən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈsɪtɪzən/, /ˈsɪtɪsən/
  • (file)


citizen (plural citizens)

  1. (obsolete) A resident of a city or town, particularly:
    1. (historical) A freeman or burgher: a legally-recognized member of an incorporated city.
      • George Eliot
        That large body of the working men who were not counted as citizens and had not so much as a vote to serve as an anodyne to their stomachs.
    2. (obsolete) A member of the early modern urban middle class, distinguished from nobles and landed gentry on one side and from peasants, craftsmen, and laborers on the other.
    3. (Christianity) A resident or future resident of the heavenly city or (later) of the kingdom of God: a Christian; a good Christian.
  2. A legally-recognized member of a state, with associated rights and obligations; a person considered in terms of this role, particularly:
    • 1990, House of Cards, Season 1, Episode 4:
      Assistant: You'll meet with the managing director and Dr Sinita Brahmachari, the engineer who designed the chair.
      Peter Mackenzie: Indian, is he?
      Assistant: She is a British citizen, Minister. Born in Coventry.
    • 2012 January 1, Steven Sloman, “The Battle Between Intuition and Deliberation”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 1, page 74:
      Libertarian paternalism is the view that, because the way options are presented to citizens affects what they choose, society should present options in a way that “nudges” our intuitive selves to make choices that are more consistent with what our more deliberative selves would have chosen if they were in control.
    I am a Roman citizen.
    1. (dated) A member of a state that is not a monarchy.
      Formerly, the citizens of republics were distinguished from the subjects living in kingdoms.
    2. (historical, usually capitalized) A term of address among French citizens during the French Revolution or towards its supporters elsewhere; (later, dated) a term of address among socialists and communists.
  3. An inhabitant: a member of any place.
    Diogenes reckoned himself a citizen of the world.
    • 1979 October, Boys' Life, p. 33:
      A jellyfish... carries poison cells that can sting other citizens of the sea.
  4. A private citizen: a civilian, as opposed to a police officer, professional soldier, or other (usually state) group.
  5. (computing) An object.




Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


  • Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed. "citizen, n. and adj." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2014.