Definition of denizen in US English:



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

    ‘denizens of field and forest’
    • ‘The beautiful natural forests in which several species of animals and birds are denizens rank high among the natural resources.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Catering to the denizens ' demand for water is a tough proposition for local governing bodies.’
    • ‘Then there are the denizens of the juke joint, shouting through their drunkenness that they'll be at confessional on Sunday morning.’
    • ‘We talk for quite a while, their cigarettes aglow, while I watch a local denizen pass by on the sidewalk three times.’
    • ‘Deep sea denizens such as the feather star inhabit caves in the wall.’
    • ‘One of the stranger denizens of the coastal sandy plains we found was Euphorbia ipecacuanhae.’
    • ‘If your yard is wet, however, plant bog plants and denizens of the damp.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At heart, though, the ferret is a denizen of the countryside, a weasel closely related to the European polecat and the mink.’
    • ‘Evidently the good denizens of the street were too busy fretting about the economy to concern themselves with such small geographical matters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Penguins are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere where they are oceanic or coastal denizens.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ground pine is a rare denizen on the North Downs.’
    • ‘Their fleshy leaves readily absorb and retain moisture because most of these plants are denizens of the desert.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We'd like to think about our tools, ideas and practices as if we were native denizens of some wiser and more advanced civilization!’
    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.