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

Definition of confederacy

1 : a group of people, countries, organizations, etc. joined together for a common purpose or by a common interest : league, alliance The artists came together as a confederacy of craftsmen a few years ago with the notion that, at least in the realm of marketing and getting the public's attention, there is power in numbers.— Wallace Baine … as audiences splinter into increasingly antagonistic confederacies, finding images and themes which speak to a shared human condition can be a daunting task.— Brian Gable also : a group of people working together for unlawful purposes : conspiracy … a corrupt confederacy of pimps, profiteers and putzes with an instinct for ignorance and ill will. — Mark Kriegel
2a : an entity (see entity sense 3) formed by a confederacy of nations, states, etc. "Bush Runner" is not an easy book to read … , but it offers many rewards, especially to a reader keen to know more about early Canadian history. … it focuses on the early days of European contact with the Indigenous peoples and tribal confederacies along the St. Lawrence River, as well as in the Great Lakes and Hudson's Bay regions.— Michael Peterman
b the Confederacy, in U.S. history : the 11 southern states of the United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and later also the states of Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia) during their secession from the United States between 1860 and 1865

Examples of confederacy in a Sentence

a confederacy of native tribes the last state to join the Confederacy
Recent Examples on the Web For Rose, monuments and reenactments honoring the confederacy are not a way to represent history. Steve Osunsami, ABC News, 18 Apr. 2022 By definition, support of the confederacy is anti-American. Essence, 1 Aug. 2017 Control of the Powhatan confederacy passed to his brother Opitchapam (also known as Itoyhatin), who worked closely with another brother, Opechancanough. Peter C. Mancall, Time, 22 Mar. 2022 When the Georgia Historical Society took over the marker program from the state in 1998, Groce said 2,000 markers were already up, most of them connected to the confederacy and the Civil War. New York Times, 27 Jan. 2022 Despite campaign promises to heal the deep political divisions in the country, President Biden went on the attack this week, comparing those opposing his voting rights bill to segregationists and icons of the confederacy. ABC News, 16 Jan. 2022 During the Post-Classic Period (900 to 1540 C.E.), Chichén Itzá joined the cities of Uxmal and Mayapán in a confederacy called the League of Mayapán. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Nov. 2021 This year’s exhibition features 47 artists and collectives, and the boundaries extend to the Haudenosaunee, the confederacy of Native American nations that encompasses what is now New York State. New York Times, 4 Oct. 2021 There is strength in numbers and a confederacy of these agencies would provide drug manufacturers with a formidable opponent at the negotiating table. Jeffrey R. Lewis, STAT, 10 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of confederacy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Last Updated

3 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Confederacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for confederacy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on confederacy

Nglish: Translation of confederacy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confederacy for Arabic Speakers


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