General English


  • noun somebody who lives in a city
  • noun somebody who has the nationality of a specific country


  • noun a person who lives in a city or a particular place
  • noun a person who has the legal right to live in a particular country


  • noun somebody with full rights as an inhabitant of a country

Origin & History of “citizen”

The Latin word for ‘citizen’ was cīvis. From it was formed the derivative cīvitās ‘citizenship, city state’, from which English gets city. From this in turn a new derivative was formed in vulgar Latin, *cīvitātānus ‘citizen’, replacing the original cīvis. This found its way, much changed, into Old French as citeain (whence modern French citoyen). Anglo-Norman altered the Old French form to citezein, possibly on analogy with Anglo-Norman deinzein ‘denizen’.