“Disenfranchised” or “Disillusioned”?



I hear the word disenfranchised fairly often. But I’m almost always suspicious that the user means something else. The context is usually how someone is “feeling disenfranchised.” And that’s quite possible.

In the literal sense disenfranchised means “deprived of a right or privilege.” Usually it’s referring to the right to vote. But it is also commonly used more broadly to refer to being “deprived of power or influence; marginalized.” And while that may be the meaning  intended in a sentence like the following from a recent blog post about Facebook, I doubt it:

As I switched from group to group, catching up on the latest news for my friends and family, I suddenly became very disenfranchised with the whole concept [of Facebook].

I suspect the author really means disillusioned. The giveaway is the preposition with. It’s awkward and confusing to be disenfranchised with something. I’m not sure what that means. “Deprived of a right with?” Huh? But it’s common to be disillusioned with something.

Disillusioned means “disappointed after having lost trust or faith in something.” Doesn’t that seem to fit better in the sentence above?

Disenfranchised and disillusioned — they are both good words, but be sure you know their definitions before using either of them.

Disenfranchise or Disfranchise?

In an interesting, related note, the word disfranchise is an exact synonym for disenfranchise. Disfranchise is older and was once greatly preferred, but those tables turned in the mid-1980s when, for no apparent reason, people began using disenfranchise more often. Today, disenfranchise is used almost twice as often in print, though both words still pop up with some regularity.

WriteAtHome: We Teach Writing So You Don’t Have To!


 Don’t feel disenfranchised here. Your voice can be heard. Leave a reply below.


About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Rudolph Kaliher
    Rudolph Kaliher03-03-2017

    Very good blog, thank you so much for your time in writing this post.

  2. Tory Mouw
    Tory Mouw03-03-2017

    Finding the Right Immigration Solicitor… [...]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[...]…

  3. Rosario Gooch
    Rosario Gooch03-03-2017

    I am really loving the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog readers have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?

  4. Tory Mouw
    Tory Mouw03-02-2017

    I like the helpful info you provide in your posts. I will bookmark your site and check again here often. I’m quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  5. Darwin Kellison
    Darwin Kellison03-02-2017

    I really like your article. It’s evident that you have a lot knowledge on this topic. Your points are well made and relatable. Thanks for writing engaging and interesting material.

  6. Berna Blalack
    Berna Blalack03-02-2017

    Made to measure curtains… [...]check out the sites listed below, worth a read for interiors and rugs enthusiasts[...]…

Leave a Reply

If you like a post, please take a second to click "like," and comment as often as you like.
We promise not to correct your grammar!