early 15c., "a citizen, a dweller, an inhabitant," especially "legally established inhabitant of a city or borough, a citizen as distinguished from a non-resident native or a foreigner," from Anglo-French deinzein, denzein, (Old French deinzein) "one within" (the privileges of a city franchise; opposed to forein "one without"), from deinz "within, inside," from Late Latin deintus, from de- "from" + intus "within" (see ento-).
Historically, an alien admitted to certain rights of citizenship in a country; a naturalized citizen (but ineligible to public office). Formerly also an adjective, "within the city franchise, having certain rights and privileges of citizenship" (late 15c.). Compare foreign.
updated on July 22, 2018