The context in which words are used may change in everyday conversation, but ultimately the foundation of the definition remains constant. The number one definition generally changes due to advancement in society. Consider the word "citizen." The meaning of the word citizen has changed since 1913, but the definition that is used today was also used back then.
There are some commonalities between The Webster Dictionary, published in 1913 and The Oxford English Dictionary, as well as, The American Heritage College Dictionary. Each of the dictionaries all state that a citizen is an inhabitant of a city or a particular place and a person that has voting rights. In these cases the definition of the word has not changed during the past eighty years. From these definitions, citizen is still used in the same fashion today as it was in the earlier 1900's.
Although each of the dictionaries have similar primary definitions, there are differences in the secondary definitions. The most evident difference appears when The Webster Dictionary is compared to the ot...
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- How Do You Define a Citizen. Dictionary Library. Ottenheimer Publishers, Inc., 1966 ed. Citizen - An inhabitant of a city; a member of a state; having the rights and duties of a citizen. Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition. The World Publishing Company, 1962 ed. Citizen - An inhabitant of a city or (often) of a town; esp. one possessing civic rights and privileges, to burgess or freeman of a city. 1. formerly, a native or inhabitant, especially a freeman or burgess, of a town or city; hence, 2.... [tags: Definition]
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