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From Middle English denisein, from Old French denzein, from deinz (within) +‎ -ein, from Late Latin deintus (from within), whence French dans.


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


denizen (plural denizens)

  1. An inhabitant of a place; one who dwells in.
    The giant squid is one of many denizens of the deep.
    • 1912: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, Chapter 6
      The cries of the gorilla proclaimed that it was in mortal combat with some other denizen of the fierce wood. Suddenly these cries ceased, and the silence of death reigned throughout the jungle.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      Denizens of their own free, independent state.
  2. One who frequents a place.
    The denizens of that pub are of the roughest sort.
    • 2015 February 20, Russell Brand, “Let’s kick cold profiteering out of football, along with racism”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      As a fan of West Ham United I’m always looking to legitimise my dislike of Chelsea FC. And on first viewing, this week’s jarring retro-Métro-racism seems like a good reason to condemn the denizens of Stamford Bridge.
  3. (Britain, historical) A person with rights between those of naturalized citizen and resident alien (roughly permanent resident), obtained through letters patent.
    Though born in Iceland, he became a denizen of Britain after leaving Oxford.
  4. (biology) An animal or plant from a particular range or habitat.
    The bald eagle is a denizen of the northern part of the state.

Usage notes[edit]

As a British legal category, used between 13th and 19th century (mentioned but not used in 20th century), made obsolete by naturalisation – see denization.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


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.


denizen (third-person singular simple present denizens, present participle denizening, simple past and past participle denizened)

  1. (transitive, Britain) To grant rights of citizenship to; to naturalize.
    He was denizened to Ireland after fleeing his home country.
    • Dryden
      As soon as denizened, they domineer.
  2. (transitive) To provide with denizens; to populate with adopted or naturalized occupants.
    • J. D. Hooker
      There were a few islets in the sand [] and these were at once denizened by various weeds.