noun na·tion \ˈnā-shən\

: a large area of land that is controlled by its own government

the nation : the people who live in a nation

Nation : a tribe of Native Americans or a group of Native American tribes that share the same history, traditions, or language

Full Definition of NATION

a (1) :  nationality 5a (2) :  a politically organized nationality (3) :  a non-Jewish nationality <why do the nations conspire — Psalms 2:1 (Revised Standard Version)>
b :  a community of people composed of one or more nationalities and possessing a more or less defined territory and government
c :  a territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by relatively large size and independent status
archaic :  group, aggregation
:  a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American Indians)

Examples of NATION

  1. It's one of the richest nations in the world.
  2. the largest state in the nation
  3. The President will speak to the nation tonight.
  4. The entire nation is celebrating the victory.

Origin of NATION

Middle English nacioun, from Anglo-French naciun, from Latin nation-, natio birth, race, nation, from nasci to be born; akin to Latin gignere to beget — more at kin
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism

Rhymes with NATION


biographical name Na·tion \ˈnā-shən\

Definition of NATION

Car*ry \ˈka-rē\ Amelia 1846–1911 née Moore Am. temperance agitator

Rhymes with NATION

NATION Defined for Kids


noun na·tion \ˈnā-shən\

Definition of NATION for Kids

:  country 1 <China is a nation I'd like to visit.>
:  a community of people made up of one or more nationalities usually with its own territory and government <… here is a race that the whole nation is clamoring for … — Walter Farley, The Black Stallion>
:  nationality 3

Word Root of NATION

The Latin word nāscī, meaning to be born, and its form nātus give us the roots nat and nai. Words from the Latin nāscī have something to do with being born. When someone is native to a particular place, she or he was born there. A nation, or country, is a place where people are born. Anyone naive has a lack of knowledge and experience as if he or she was only recently born.


Next Word in the Dictionary: national (adjective)Previous Word in the Dictionary: natiformAll Words Near: nation
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears