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From Middle English citizen, from Anglo-Norman *citezein, from Old French *citezein (spelling altered by confusion between ʒ (yogh = y) and z, and also possible contamination from denizen), from Old French citeien (Modern French citoyen), from cite ‎(settlement (regardless of size), later meaning cathedral town) (Modern French cité, English city), from citet, from Latin civitas ‎(citizenship, community of citizens), from civis ‎(townsman, citizen) (English civil, civilian), from Proto-Indo-European *key- ‎(to lie, homestead). Cognate with Old English hīwan ‎(members of one's household, servants, plural). More at hewe.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɪt.ɪ.zən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈsɪt.ɪ.zən/, /ˈsɪt.ɪ.sən/
  • (file)


citizen ‎(plural citizens)

  1. A person who is legally recognized as a member of a state, with associated rights and obligations.
    • 2012 January 1, Steven Sloman, “The Battle Between Intuition and Deliberation”, American Scientist, 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.
    When the rebellion broke out, the United States promptly evacuated its citizens from the area.
  2. (dated) A member of a state that is not a monarchy; used in contrast with subject.
  3. A person who is a legally recognized resident of a city or town.
    • 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.
  4. A resident of any particular place to which the subject feels he/she belongs.
    • 2007, John English, Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau
  5. A civilian, as opposed to a soldier, police officer etc.
  6. (computing) an object


  • (person who is a legally recognized resident of a city or town): burgher
  • (person who is legally recognized as a member of a state): national


  • (resident of any particular place): alien
  • (person who is legally recognized as a member of a state): illegal
  • (person who is legally recognized as a member of a state): foreigner
  • (resident of any particular place): stranger
  • (dated): subject


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