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adjective fed·er·al \ˈfe-d(ə-)rəl\

Simple Definition of federal

  • : of or relating to a form of government in which power is shared between a central government and individual states, provinces, etc.

  • : of or relating to the central government

  • : of, relating to, or loyal to the federal government during the American Civil War

Full Definition of federal

  1. 1 archaic :  of or relating to a compact or treaty

  2. 2 a :  formed by a compact between political units that surrender their individual sovereignty to a central authority but retain limited residuary powers of government b :  of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial units c :  of or relating to the central government of a federation as distinguished from the governments of the constituent units

  3. 3 capitalized :  advocating or friendly to the principle of a federal government with strong centralized powers; especially :  of or relating to the American Federalists

  4. 4 often capitalized :  of, relating to, or loyal to the federal government or the Union armies of the United States in the American Civil War

  5. 5 capitalized :  being or belonging to a style of architecture and decoration current in the United States following the American Revolution

fed·er·al·ly play \-d(ə-)rə-lē\ adverb

Examples of federal

  1. We pay federal, state, and local taxes.

  2. The ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court.

  3. furniture made in the Federal style

Origin of federal

Latin foeder-, foedus compact, league; akin to Latin fidere to trust — more at bide

First Known Use: 1660


noun fed·er·al

Simple Definition of Federal

  • : a supporter of the government of the U.S. in the American Civil War; especially : a soldier in the federal armies

  • : a federal agent or officer

Full Definition of Federal

  1. 1 :  a supporter of the United States government in the Civil War; especially :  a soldier in the federal armies

  2. 2 :  fed 1 —usually used in plural


First Known Use of federal


FEDERAL Defined for Kids


adjective fed·er·al \ˈfe-də-rəl, ˈfe-drəl\

Definition of federal

  1. :  relating to a nation formed by the union of several parts

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February 14, 2016

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