con·​fed·​er·​a·​cy kən-ˈfe-d(ə-)rə-sē How to pronounce confederacy (audio)
plural confederacies
: 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
: 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
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 Instead, Cortés wandered into a collection of city states, three of them joined in a powerful confederacy, the Triple Alliance. Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 2 Jan. 2024 It’s believed by many that this five-nation confederacy, considered by many to be North America’s oldest living democracy, was formed during a total (or near total) solar eclipse, and marked the beginning of peace among the nations. Wendy O'Dea, Travel + Leisure, 11 Feb. 2024 The Oglala Lakota people on Pine Ridge are part of an ancient confederacy called the Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires, whose members speak three dialects of the same language with seven bands spread across reservations primarily in North and South Dakota. Patricia Leigh Brown, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2024 This confederacy of society’s richest and most powerful people is determined to ruin Benny’s life. Jim Ruland, Los Angeles Times, 3 Jan. 2024 That’s the Haudenosaunee story Aug. 21, 2020 International tournaments refused them entry because the confederacy was not recognized as a sovereign nation. David Wharton, Los Angeles Times, 8 Dec. 2023 The confederacy is made up of six different nations, the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Senecas and the Tuscarora Nation. Colleen Long,, 7 Dec. 2023 The Naming Commission was tasked with identifying items in the U.S. military named after figures from the confederacy. Eleanor Watson, CBS News, 27 Oct. 2023 If the New England, Middle, or Southern states had split apart into separate confederacies, civil wars would have broken out over finances, commerce, and, most of all, land. Time, 3 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'confederacy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near confederacy

Cite this Entry

“Confederacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​fed·​er·​a·​cy kən-ˈfed-(ə-)rə-sē How to pronounce confederacy (audio)
plural confederacies
: a league of persons, parties, or states : alliance

More from Merriam-Webster on confederacy

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