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[en-fran-chahyz] /ɛnˈfræn tʃaɪz/
verb (used with object), enfranchised, enfranchising.
to grant a franchise to; admit to citizenship, especially to the right of voting.
to endow (a city, constituency, etc.) with municipal or parliamentary rights.
to set free; liberate, as from slavery.
Also, franchise.
Origin of enfranchise
1505-15; < Middle French, Old French enfranchiss- (long stem of enfranchir to free), equivalent to en- en-1 + franch- free (see frank1) + iss- -ish2
Related forms
[en-fran-chahyz-muh nt, -chiz-] /ɛnˈfræn tʃaɪz mənt, -tʃɪz-/ (Show IPA),
enfranchiser, noun
unenfranchised, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for enfranchise
  • The effort could enfranchise millions of people who have lived in this country for years without seeking citizenship.
  • His strategy was to create public jobs for the unemployed, enfranchise labor and expand the minimum wage.
  • Some are dedicated to serving particular community needs, such as helping to enfranchise homeless persons.
  • As evidence of change, the following recently developed programs are designed to enfranchise low-income populations:.
British Dictionary definitions for enfranchise


verb (transitive)
to grant the power of voting to, esp as a right of citizenship
to liberate, as from servitude
(in England) to invest (a town, city, etc) with the right to be represented in Parliament
(English law) to convert (leasehold) to freehold
Derived Forms
enfranchisement, noun
enfranchiser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for enfranchise

early 15c., "to set free," from Old French enfranchiss-, present participle stem of enfranchir "to set or make free; grant a franchise to;" from en- "make, put in" (see en- (1)) + franc "free" (see franchise).

Meaning "to admit to membership in a state" (generally with reference to voting privileges) is from 1680s. Related: Enfranchised; enfranchisement.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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