difference between inhabitant/dweller/occupant/resident

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Senior Member
Reports that the government is about to give the go ahead to plans for the building of a new runway at London's Gatwick airport have angered local inhabitants / dwellers / occupants / residents and raised fears of increased noise and exhaust pollution.

Yes, the book asks which one is the best for the sentence :D
Here the definitions ;

inhabitant (n) : a person or an animal that lives in a particular place.
-> a town 11000 inhabitants

dweller (n) : (especially in compounds) a person or an animal that lives in the particular place that is mentioned.
-> apartment dwellers

occupant (n) :
1- a person who lives or works in a particular house, room, building, etc.
-> All outstanding bills will be paid by the previous occupants.

resident (n) : a person who lives in a particular place or who has their home there.
-> a resident of the United States

(Oxford Advanced Dictionary)

As I realised when I was writing the definitons, we can eliminate occupant and dwellers words, but what about inhabitant and resident ?
Last edited:
  • unpelerin

    American English
    I think if you have thought about the definitions of your two remaining choices, you obviously have seen that they are essentially the same, and that's why you're asking.

    In American English, "residents" is the word that is more often used; "inhabitants" is more formal and somehow abstract-sounding---but it does mean the same thing.

    If you're asking about British English, I don't know.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    Resident has more of an implication of living in a dwelling, i.e., a residence and would generally not apply to animals. Inhabitant could be applied to animals and does not imply a dwelling though it is often used with respect to humans as well, especially if referring to the number of people living in a particular geographic area. When referring to the occupants of a building, for example, one would use residents and not inhabitants.
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