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Civilian vs. Citizen: What's the Difference?

Copy edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 4, 2023
Civilian refers to a person not in the armed services or police; Citizen refers to a legal member of a state or country.

Key Differences

Civilian and Citizen are both significant terms within society, but they serve different purposes. A Civilian denotes someone who isn't engaged in military or police duties, distinguishing them from armed forces personnel. On the other hand, a Citizen is an individual recognized by a state or country, having specific rights, privileges, and responsibilities within that territory.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
Civilian life often contrasts with military life, emphasizing the day-to-day activities of individuals not associated with defense or law enforcement activities. In contrast, Citizen status emphasizes the relationship between an individual and a state, entailing both the rights granted and duties owed to that state.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
A Civilian might not necessarily be a Citizen of the country they're in. For instance, tourists or foreign workers might be civilians, but they aren't citizens of the visiting country. Conversely, a Citizen can be both a civilian and a military personnel, as the term 'citizen' focuses on one's legal standing in a country, regardless of their occupation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
An interesting point of intersection is when civilians have responsibilities toward their country without being members of the military. For example, a Citizen might be called upon for jury duty or to vote. Yet, these civic duties don't negate their Civilian status.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
Finally, while Civilian status can change based on one's job role, Citizen status is often more permanent, stemming from birth, naturalization, or other legal processes. It's the citizenship that gives an individual the right to participate fully in the civic life of a nation.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Person not in armed services or police.
Legal member of a state or country.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Role in Society

Distinguished from military or law enforcement personnel.
Holds rights and responsibilities in a state.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Status Change

Based on job role.
Based on birth, naturalization, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Rights

Not specific to a state or country.
Specific rights in a state or country.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Associated Duties

No specific duties to a state or country.
Civic duties like voting, jury duty, etc.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023
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Civilian and Citizen Definitions

Civilian

Pertaining to civil life and ordinary citizens.
Civilian clothes make him blend in with the crowd.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Citizen

One entitled to the rights and duties of a country.
As a Citizen, she felt obligated to follow the laws.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Civilian

A non-military or non-police person.
The bomb exploded in a busy Civilian area.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Citizen

A person with legal membership in a country.
Every Citizen has the right to vote in elections.
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

Civilian

One outside the armed forces.
He transitioned from a soldier to a Civilian after the war.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Citizen

A person regarded in terms of their behavior or attributes.
Be a good Citizen and help your neighbors.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Civilian

A person not involved in military or police activities.
The Civilian population often faces challenges during wartime.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Citizen

A native or naturalized individual of a state.
She became a Citizen after years of residency and passing the exam.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Civilian

Someone not connected to any professional or specialized field.
He was the only Civilian in a room full of soldiers.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Citizen

An inhabitant of a particular place.
He's been a proud Citizen of New York for years.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Civilian

A person who is not an active member of the military, the police, or a belligerent group in a conflict.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state or nation.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

A person who is not an employee of the government
Programs available to both government employees and civilians.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A resident of a city or town, especially one entitled to vote and enjoy other privileges there.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

A specialist in Roman or civil law.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A civilian.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

Of, relating to, or being a civilian or civilians
Civilian clothes.
A civilian career.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A native, inhabitant, or denizen of a particular place
Citizens of rural Utah.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

A person following the pursuits of civil life, especially one who is not an active member of the armed forces.
Three civilians were apprehended by the soldiers and taken away in a military vehicle.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A resident of a city or town, especially one with legally-recognized rights or duties.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

(informal) A person who does not belong to a particular group or engage in a particular activity, an outsider.
The bathroom was for employees only, so civilians weren't allowed to use it.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A legally-recognized member of a state, with associated rights and obligations; a person considered in terms of this role.
I am a Roman citizen.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

One skilled in civil law.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

An inhabitant or occupant: a member of any place.
Diogenes reckoned himself a citizen of the world.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

A student of civil law at a university or college.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

(Christianity) A resident of the heavenly city or later of the kingdom of God: a Christian; a good Christian.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

Not related to the military, police or other governmental professions.
The three detainees were actually army defectors wearing civilian clothing.
He worked as a civilian journalist for ten years before being employed by the public broadcaster.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A civilian, as opposed to a police officer, soldier, or member of some other specialized (usually state) group.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

One skilled in the civil law.
Ancient civilians and writers upon government.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

(obsolete) An ordinary person, as opposed to nobles and landed gentry on one side and peasants, craftsmen, and laborers on the other.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

A student of the civil law at a university or college.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A term of address among French citizens during the French Revolution or towards its supporters elsewhere; dated a term of address among socialists and communists.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

One whose pursuits are those of civil life, not military or clerical.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

(computing) An object.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

A nonmilitary citizen
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

One who enjoys the freedom and privileges of a city; a freeman of a city, as distinguished from a foreigner, or one not entitled to its franchises.
That large body of the working men who were not counted as citizens and had not so much as a vote to serve as an anodyne to their stomachs.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Civilian

Associated with or performed by civilians as contrasted with the military;
Civilian clothing
Civilian life
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

An inhabitant of a city; a townsman.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A person, native or naturalized, of either sex, who owes allegiance to a government, and is entitled to reciprocal protection from it.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

One who is domiciled in a country, and who is a citizen, though neither native nor naturalized, in such a sense that he takes his legal status from such country.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

Having the condition or qualities of a citizen, or of citizens; as, a citizen soldiery.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

Of or pertaining to the inhabitants of a city; characteristic of citizens; effeminate; luxurious.
I am not well,But not so citizen a wanton asTo seem to die ere sick.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

Citizen

A native or naturalized member of a state or other political community
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 01, 2022

FAQs

Who is a Citizen?

A Citizen is a legal member of a state or country.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

What is a Civilian?

A Civilian is a person not in the armed services or police.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Can a person be both a Civilian and a Citizen?

Yes, a person can be both, for instance, a legal member of a country not in military service.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Can a soldier be a Citizen?

Yes, a soldier can be a Citizen if they have legal membership in a country.
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

Is every Civilian a Citizen?

No, a Civilian can be a foreigner or non-resident and not hold citizenship.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Can a Citizen have duties to their country?

Yes, Citizens often have civic duties like voting or jury service.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Do all Citizens have the right to vote?

While many Citizens have this right, voting eligibility can vary based on country and other factors.
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

Is the term Civilian used in professional contexts?

Yes, it can denote someone not connected to a specific professional field.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

How does one change their Citizen status?

Through processes like naturalization, birth, or other legal methods.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Do Civilians have rights in foreign countries?

While Civilians have human rights, they might not have the same rights as Citizens in foreign lands.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Is there a difference between a Citizen's and Civilian's duty in wartime?

While Citizens might have broader responsibilities, Civilians, specifically, are often expected to follow laws and avoid direct combat roles.
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

Can a person be a Citizen of multiple countries?

Yes, this is called dual (or multiple) citizenship.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Can someone lose their Citizen status?

Yes, through processes like renunciation or in rare cases, denaturalization.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Are rights the same for every Citizen within a country?

Generally, yes, but rights might vary based on factors like age (e.g., voting age).
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

Are all residents of a country considered Citizens?

No, residents might not be Citizens if they haven't undergone naturalization or don't hold legal membership.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Can a Civilian join the military?

Yes, a Civilian can enlist or be commissioned into the military.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Can a foreign Civilian become a Citizen?

Yes, often through processes like naturalization.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Why is the distinction between Civilian and Citizen important?

It helps define a person's role, rights, and responsibilities within society and in relation to a state.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Is every person in a country, other than soldiers, a Civilian?

Most people are Civilians, but some like police might not be considered as such in specific contexts.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Are Civilians protected in times of war?

International laws, like the Geneva Conventions, offer protections for Civilians during conflicts.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Copy edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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