con·​fed·​er·​a·​cy | \ kən-ˈfe-d(ə-)rə-sē How to pronounce confederacy (audio) \
plural confederacies

Definition of confederacy

1 : a league or compact for mutual support or common action : alliance
2 : a combination of persons for unlawful purposes : conspiracy
3 : the body formed by persons, states, or nations united by a league specifically, capitalized : the 11 southern states seceding from the U.S. in 1860 and 1861

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Examples of confederacy in a Sentence

a confederacy of native tribes the last state to join the Confederacy
Recent Examples on the Web The confederacy is comprised of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora tribes. Allen Kim, CNN, "Ireland's lacrosse team gives its spot in an international tournament to a Native American team," 7 Sep. 2020 The men on Barents’s expedition risked their lives not just for their investors but for the glory of the brand-new Dutch Republic, a confederacy of provinces founded some 10 years prior by Protestant burghers in an attempt to expel the Spanish. New York Times, "‘Icebound’ Takes Us Back to the Arctic, in All Its Terror and Splendor," 8 Jan. 2021 The confederacy is believed to be the longest-living democracy in the world. Wayne Lawrence, National Geographic, "The faces of COVID-19's toll," 23 Nov. 2020 The state also replaced its flag, which had confederacy ties, with a new one. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Who won in the US election so far," 4 Nov. 2020 Citizens of the Haudenosaunee confederacy in the northeastern U.S. were among the most outspoken opponents of the ICA. Mary Klann, Smithsonian Magazine, "To Make Native Votes Count, Janine Windy Boy Sued the Government," 29 Oct. 2020 Their Native American guides, members of the Powhatan confederacy who spoke an Algonquian language, refused to take them beyond the falls at what is today Richmond. Andrew Lawler, National Geographic, "Native American capital among 11 most endangered historic sites," 24 Sep. 2020 The Nationals represent the Iroquois Confederacy -- also known as the Haudenosaunee -- a confederacy of six Native American tribes that dates back hundreds of years. Allen Kim, CNN, "Ireland's lacrosse team gives its spot in an international tournament to a Native American team," 7 Sep. 2020 Orange is about 75 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia, which was the capital of the confederacy and remains the capital of the state. Kate Smith, CBS News, "Black Lives Matter protests extend into America's suburbs and towns," 9 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confederacy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of confederacy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for confederacy

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The first known use of confederacy was in the 14th century

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Statistics for confederacy

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confederacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for confederacy



English Language Learners Definition of confederacy

: a group of people, countries, organizations, etc., that are joined together in some activity or effort
: the group of 11 southern states that separated themselves from the U.S. during the American Civil War


con·​fed·​er·​a·​cy | \ kən-ˈfe-də-rə-sē How to pronounce confederacy (audio) \
plural confederacies

Kids Definition of confederacy

1 : a league of persons, parties, or states
2 capitalized : the eleven southern states that seceded from the United States in 1860 and 1861 to form their own government

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