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A problem I'm having is finding a concise way to differentiate between when people are a citizen of one country but have family origins in another, and dual citizens. For example, is there an easy way to distinguish between an American citizen who has French origins, and someone who is a dual citizen of both countries?

Obviously 'French-American' comes to mind, but Wikipedia, for example, says it means both:

French Americans or Franco-Americans (French: Franco-Américains) are citizens or nationals of the United States who identify themselves with having full or partial French or French Canadian heritage, ethnicity, and/or ancestral ties. Members of this group are also those who have declared allegiance either informally or formally to France or French Canada and the United States of America. People with dual citizenship of both France and the United States are commonly referred to as French-Americans.

This could happen with any two nationalities (i.e. British-Italian, Irish-American, etc.)

What is the most concise way to describe someone as having two nationalities while avoiding the possible confusion of it being misinterpreted as speaking of family origins?

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    I’d just say French-American dual citizen – can’t think of a shorter way to say it. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 18:33
  • That would be a good answer. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 19:01
  • She/He is both American and French. Or French/American. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 20:43

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A person of two nationalities has—exactly as stated in the quotation in the question itself—dual citizenship:

[Merriam-Webster]
: the status of an individual who is a citizen of two or more nations
// If that's the case, then her baby will be eligible for dual citizenship.
— Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Baby Be an American Citizen?," 27 Apr. 2019
// Mujica has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Mexico, and has homes in Phoenix and Sonoyta.
— Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Phoenix-based activist and migrant caravan organizer arrested in Mexico," 9 Nov. 2018

Although dual citizen would be understood, it's not common enough to have its own dictionary definition—and it might be considered unusual by some people.


A single word is multinational, used as both an adjective and a noun, but it may not be acceptable if it's thought to imply family origin as opposed to citizenship. If citizenship needs to be explicitly conveyed, then that word needs to be used.

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    Ennhh...not so sure. The question seems to be asking for the correct way to express the specific nationalities and at the same time, dual citizenship. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 20:41
  • @Cascabel Although the question might be interpreted in difference ways, the final sentence is very clear: "What is the most concise way to describe someone as having two nationalities while avoiding the possible confusion of it being misinterpreted as speaking of family origins?" If family origins are excluded, then it can only be talking about citizenship. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 21:02
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    Not my DV, by the way. But I think the question is unclear. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 21:09

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