verb (used with object), de·na·tion·al·ized, de·na·tion·al·iz·ing.

  1. to remove (an industry or the like) from government ownership or control.
  2. to deprive of national status, attachments, or characteristics.


  1. to return or transfer (an industry, etc) from public to private ownership
  2. to deprive (an individual, people, institution, etc) of national character or nationality

1807, “to deprive of nationality,” from French dénationaliser (said in contemporary English publications to have been coined by Napoleon Buonaparte; denapoleonize was coined shortly thereafter); see de- + nationalize. Meaning “to transfer from national to private ownership” recorded from 1921. Related: Denationalized; denationalization.

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