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Citizen definition

Page history last edited by Abigail Heiniger 8 years, 5 months ago

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citizen, n. and adj.

Pronunciation:  Brit. citizen#_gb_1.mp3 /ˈsɪtᵻz(ə)n, U.S. /ˈsɪdᵻz(ə)n/ˈsɪdᵻs(ə)n/


α. ME cetazen, ME ceteseyn, ME cetezen, ME cetezyn, ME cetisence (plural), ME cetizand, ME citasyn (in a late copy), ME citecein, ME citeceyn, ME citecines (plural), ME citesayne, MEcitesein, ME citeseyn, ME citeseyne, ME citesynnes (plural), ME citezeen, ME citezeyn, ME citezyn, ME citiesyn (in a late copy), ME citisain, ME citisein, ME citiseyn, ME citiseyne, MEcitizeen, ME citteseyn, ME cityseyn, ME cyteceynes (plural), ME cyteseyn, ME cyteson, ME cytezeyne, ME cytisyn, ME setsayne (perh. transmission error), ME sitesyn, ME sitezeyn, MEsytizin (in a late copy), ME–15 citesen, ME–15 citesin, ME–15 citesyn, ME–15 citezein, ME–15 citizein, ME–15 cytesyn, ME–15 cytezein, ME–15 cytezen, ME–15 cytezeyn, ME–15 cytezyn, ME–15 cytyzeyn, ME–16 citezen, ME–16 citezin, ME– citizen, 15 citeyzen, 15 citezn, 15 citiezen, 15 citizeyn, 15 cittesen, 15 citysen, 15 cytesin, 15 cytezin, 15 cytiezin, 15 cytizin, 15cytycin, 15 cytyzen, 15 cytyzyn, 15 setesan, 15 sytysyn, 15–16 chittizen, 15–16 citisen, 15–16 citizin, 15–16 cittezen, 15–16 cittisen, 15–16 cittizen, 15–16 cytizen, 15–18 cityzen, 16 citicin, 16 citticen; also Sc. pre-17 citesane, pre-17 cytezane, pre-17 cytysane.

β. ME citeȝen, ME citiȝen, ME citiȝeyn, ME cytiȝeynSc. pre-17 ceteȝen, pre-17 cieteȝen, pre-17 citeȝen, pre-17 citiȝen, pre-17 sitiȝen.

γ. Sc. pre-17 cieteȝan, pre-17 cieteyan, pre-17 cietiȝan, pre-17 citaȝan, pre-17 citeȝan, pre-17 citeȝane, pre-17 citiȝan, pre-17 cyteȝan, pre-17 cytyȝan.


Frequency (in current use):  

Etymology:  A borrowing from French. Etymons: French citesain.
< Anglo-Norman citesainciteseincitesincitezeincitezencitezincithezeinsiteseincitisaincitiseincitizainceteseincetezein inhabitant of a city or town, especially one who possesses civic rights or privileges (end of the 13th cent. or earlier), apparently a variant or alteration (perhaps after deinzein , denizein denizen n.) of Anglo-Norman cithein , citehain , citoiien , Anglo-Norman and Old Frenchciteain , citeein , citeien , Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French citain , Old French, Middle French citaien , citeen , citien , citoien , Middle French citayen , citayn (Middle French, Frenchcitoyen ) inhabitant of a city or town who possesses civic rights or privileges (c1160, originally with reference to ancient Rome), any inhabitant of a city or town (a1173), partly < cité city n. + -ain -ansuffix, and partly < cité city n. + -ien -ian suffix.


Compare Old Occitan ciutadan (c1200 in feminine form ciutadana), Catalan ciutadà (second half of the 13th cent.), Spanish ciudadano (first half of the 13th cent.), Portuguese ciudadão (1269), Italiancittadino (1213).

The semantic development has been influenced by classical Latin cīvis (see civic adj.) and Middle French, French citoyen.
In sense A. 2c after the specific uses of French citoyen and (denoting a woman) its corresponding feminine form citoyenne (1792 in this sense; now hist.), which replaced monsieur monsieur n. and madame (see madam n.) as titles or forms of address during the French Revolution.
Although the ȝ of the β. and γ. forms reflects the identity of this symbol with tailed z in some Middle English manuscripts and in the typography of early Scottish printers (compare α. forms and see further note at Z n.).


 A. n.


 a. An inhabitant of a city or town; esp. one possessing civic rights and privileges, a burgess or freeman of a city.Used of both men and women, but cf. citizeness n.citess n. 2.

a1325   Statutes of Realm (2011) v. 16   Of citiseins ant of burgeis to wche þe king oþer is fader habbe igraunted wallinge for te enclosen hoere toun.
c1330  (▸?a1300)    Arthour & Merlin (Auch.) (1973) 5080   To Londen..þai come, Þe citisains fair in hem nome.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) Deeds xxi. 39,   I am a man..of Tarse..a citeseyn, or burgeys, of a citee not vnknowun.
1471   in T. Wright Polit. Poems & Songs (1859) II. 281   He thonckyd the cetisence of thayre fidelite.
1480   Cronicles Eng. (Caxton) ccvi. sig. m7,   The cytezeyns of london.
1512   Act 4 Hen. VIII c. 9. §2   Citezens of Cities and Burgeys of boroughes and Townes.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Gest Historiale Destr. Troy (2002) f. 51v,   Sum of the Citizens assemblit with all.
1556   in J. G. Nichols Chron. Grey Friars (1852) 16   The kynge [sc. Henry VI] came to London, & there was worchippfully reseved of the cittesens in whytt gownes & redde whoddes.
a1616   Shakespeare Taming of Shrew (1623) iv. ii. 96   Pisa renowned for graue Citizens.
a1699   A. Halkett Autobiogr. (1875) 20   Furnished by an honest Cittisen.
1704   Clarendon's Hist. Rebellion III. xv. 462   You, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, of the House of Commons.
1782   W. Cowper Hist. John Gilpin in Public Advertiser 14 Nov.   John Gilpin was a citizen Of credit and renown.
1836   C. Thirlwall Hist. Greece III. xxiv. 360   They put to death all the adult citizens, and enslaved the women and children.
1849   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. 352   The chiefs of the mercantile interest are no longer citizens. They avoid, they almost contemn, municipal honours and duties.
1901   Junior Munsey Nov. 283/2   This allowing of tradespeople and common citizens a place in your majesty's audience chamber is..unwise.
1942   Times 2 Oct. 5/3   The Lord Mayor to-day appeals..to the citizens of London to help ‘in keeping the city safe’ from a possible invader.
2003   J. V. Switzer Environmental Activism 178   The town's citizens decided to throw out the existing town board.
a1375   William of Palerne (1867) l. 3850   Citeȝens [l. 3627 citesens].
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1874) V. 425   A citiȝeyn of Londoun.
?c1400  (▸c1380)    Chaucer tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (BL Add. 10340) (1868) i. pr. iv. l. 276   Þe gouernementes of comune citees y-left in þe hondes of felonous tourmentours Citiȝenis [?c1425 Cambr. Ii.3.21 citesenes] ne scholde not brynge inne pestilence and destruccioun to goode folk.
c1450  (▸?a1400)    Wars Alexander (Ashm.) l. 2199   Ȝe of Tebet [= Thebes] ere tried þe tethiest..Of all þe segges vnder son þat citiȝens [a1500 Trin. Dub. citesyns] hatt.
1596   J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl. (1895) II. 358   To hald sitiȝenis in peice and in thair office.
a1500  (▸c1425)    Andrew of Wyntoun Oryg. Cron. Scotl. (Nero) viii. l. 4187   Citeȝan he Was of Sancte Androwis þe cite.
1533   J. Bellenden tr. Livy Hist. Rome (1901) i. vi. 38   He gaif occasioun to the cieteȝanis þareof to Ische out of þe toun.
1578   in J. D. Marwick Rec. Convent. Royal Burghs Scotl. (1870) I. 57   With the helpe of Alexander Segait, ȝoure citeȝane.

 b. A person who lives in a town or a city, as opposed to one who lives in a rural area. Now rare.

?1518   A. Barclay Fyfte Eglog sig. Aij,   Fastus accused, and blamed Cytezyns Amyntas blamed, the rurall men agayne.
1665   J. Wilson Projectors ii. i. 20   Life is frail, man mortal,—but good Security may do much;—What is the Security?—Citizens or Country Gentlemen?
1680   R. L'Estrange Citt & Bumpkin 8   What Simpletons we Country-folks are to you Citizens!
1790   A. Alison Ess. Nature & Princ. Taste i. i. 25   The charms of the country are altogether lost upon a citizen, who has passed his life in town.
1845   S. Austin tr. L. von Ranke Hist. Reformation in Germany (ed. 2) II. 209   Both citizens and peasants are tired of it.
1860   J. Ruskin Mod. Painters V. 4   The words ‘countryman..villager’, still signify a rude and untaught person, as opposed to the words ‘townsman’, and ‘citizen’.
1904   Princeton Theol. Rev. Apr. 93   These traits were exhibited..by countrymen and villagers and citizens and statesmen.

c. An ordinary (city- or town-dwelling) person as opposed to a member of the landed nobility or gentry on one hand or an artisan, labourer, etc. on the other. Obs. (in later use merging with sense A. 5).

a1616   Shakespeare Coriolanus (1623) iii. iii. 54   When he speakes not like a Citizen You finde him like a Soldier.
1723   D. Defoe Hist. Col. Jack (ed. 2) 315,   I had Married two Gentle-women, and one Citizen, and they prov'd all three Whores.
1755   Johnson Dict. Eng. Lang.   Citizen, a man of trade; not a gentleman.
a1777   S. Foote Trip to Calais (1778) 104   Min. I reckon she must a' cost you a power of money. Sir H. Cost? that's always uppermost in a citizen's mouth.
1818   Edinb. Rev. Dec. 224   No peasant or citizen can obtain justice against a noble but through another noble, or the magistracy of a free town.

 a. A legally recognized subject or national of a state, commonwealth, or other polity, either native or naturalized, having certain rights, privileges, or duties.See note at citizenship n.

Joesecond-classsenior citizen, etc.: see the first element.



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