Definition of denizen in US English:



formal, humorous
  • 1An inhabitant or occupant of a particular place.

    ‘denizens of field and forest’
    • ‘If your yard is wet, however, plant bog plants and denizens of the damp.’
    • ‘Evidently the good denizens of the street were too busy fretting about the economy to concern themselves with such small geographical matters.’
    • ‘One of the stranger denizens of the coastal sandy plains we found was Euphorbia ipecacuanhae.’
    • ‘Catering to the denizens ' demand for water is a tough proposition for local governing bodies.’
    • ‘I'd like to take you on a little jaunt through my backyard here in Ithaca to meet some of the plant denizens I spend much of my time admiring.’
    • ‘The beautiful natural forests in which several species of animals and birds are denizens rank high among the natural resources.’
    • ‘We talk for quite a while, their cigarettes aglow, while I watch a local denizen pass by on the sidewalk three times.’
    • ‘Their fleshy leaves readily absorb and retain moisture because most of these plants are denizens of the desert.’
    • ‘Then there are the denizens of the juke joint, shouting through their drunkenness that they'll be at confessional on Sunday morning.’
    • ‘He would play an equal part in rearing our children and help them become good denizens of the country.’
    • ‘Left to his own devices, the denizen of hamburger restaurants would eat fresh carrots and brown rice, his natural choices.’
    • ‘Deep sea denizens such as the feather star inhabit caves in the wall.’
    • ‘We'd like to think about our tools, ideas and practices as if we were native denizens of some wiser and more advanced civilization!’
    • ‘For this play to work, as it did so well in Cunningham, you need a strong, activist local community whose denizens talk across partisan political lines.’
    • ‘Penguins are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere where they are oceanic or coastal denizens.’
    • ‘Kit Keith, a longtime St. Louis resident now based in Brooklyn, is a denizen of thrift shops, where she locates such early 1950s treasures as linoleum samples, flowered wallpaper and aging account ledgers.’
    • ‘Ground pine is a rare denizen on the North Downs.’
    • ‘With the progress of civilization all over the world, forest dwellers that were hunters and fruit gatherers have turned into denizens of the concrete jungle.’
    • ‘At heart, though, the ferret is a denizen of the countryside, a weasel closely related to the European polecat and the mink.’
    • ‘As a Roman military outpost, and with the aid of its uncouth denizens, the island was used as a staging point for the invasion of Great Britain.’
    inhabitant, resident, townsman, townswoman, native, local
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British historical A foreigner allowed certain rights in the adopted country.
      • ‘The denizen was not a citizen nor an alien: but had a status akin to permanent residency today.’
      • ‘The denizen was not a citizen because he did not have any political rights: he could not be a member of parliament or hold any civil or military office.’


Late Middle English deynseyn, via Anglo-Norman French from Old French deinz ‘within’ (from Latin de ‘from’ + intus ‘within’) + -ein (from Latin -aneus ‘-aneous’). The change in the form of the word was due to association with citizen.