verb (used with object), en·fran·chised, en·fran·chis·ing.

  1. to grant a franchise to; admit to citizenship, especially to the right of voting.
  2. to endow (a city, constituency, etc.) with municipal or parliamentary rights.
  3. to set free; liberate, as from slavery.

verb (tr)

  1. to grant the power of voting to, esp as a right of citizenship
  2. to liberate, as from servitude
  3. (in England) to invest (a town, city, etc) with the right to be represented in Parliament
  4. English law to convert (leasehold) to freehold

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.

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