How Do You Define A Citizen?

917 words - 4 pages

How Do You Define a Citizen?

Dictionary Library. Ottenheimer Publishers, Inc., 1966 ed.

Citizen - An inhabitant of a city; a member of a state; having the rights and duties of a citizen.

Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition. The World Publishing Company, 1962 ed.

Citizen - An inhabitant of a city or (often) of a town; esp. one possessing civic rights and privileges, to burgess or freeman of a city.

  1. formerly, a native or inhabitant, especially a freeman or burgess, of a town or city; hence,
  2. loosely, a native, inhabitant, or denizen of any place.
  3. a member of a state or nation, especially one with a republican form of government, who gives allegiance to it by birth or       naturalization and is entitled to full civil rights;
  4. a civilian, as distinguished from a person in military service, a policeman, etc.

Oxford English Dictionary. Claredon Press, 1989

Citizen - 1. An inhabitant of a city or (often) of a town; esp. one possessing civic rights and privileges, a burgess or freeman of a city.

     Being a citizen is something most people don’t think about. In many countries citizenship is only a matter of nationality; they were born in a certain country and therefore belong to that country. They may be forced to defend it, but they may not get any special rights because of it. We in the United States are lucky in that citizenship here includes rights such as voting and running for office. Citizenship is something very important that we take for granted.

     What is a citizen?

     The word, "citizen" comes from the word "city." The Oxford English dictionary’s definition seems to be the original one, an inhabitant of a city. Webster’s dictionary used the Oxford definition and then added more meanings, calling a citizen someone who also lives in a state or nation. It also says that a citizen "gives allegiance" to his country and that the country gives the citizen "full civil rights." The Dictionary Library definition adds that a citizen is entitled to rights and that citizenship brings duties. "Citizen" seems to have evolved through the years, from a person who lives in a city to a person who lives in a country and who has rights and duties.

     The fourth definition from the Webster’s dictionary is probably one most people have never heard of. According to Webster, only civilians can be citizens. Military people and policemen are not considered to be citizens. This is rather surprising, because soldiers and policemen have the same rights and probably more duties than civilians.

     Webster’s definition is certainly the best of the three, because it goes into much more detail than the other two....

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