con·​fed·​er·​ate | \ kən-ˈfe-d(ə-)rət How to pronounce confederate (audio) \

Definition of confederate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : united in a league : allied
2 capitalized : of or relating to the Confederate States of America



Definition of confederate (Entry 2 of 3)

2 capitalized : an adherent of the Confederate States of America or their cause


con·​fed·​er·​ate | \ kən-ˈfe-də-ˌrāt How to pronounce confederate (audio) \
confederated; confederating

Definition of confederate (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to unite in a confederacy

intransitive verb

: to band together

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Other Words from confederate


confederative \ kən-​ˈfe-​d(ə-​)rə-​tiv How to pronounce confederative (audio) , -​də-​ˌrā-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for confederate

Synonyms: Noun

abettor (also abetter), accessory (also accessary), accomplice, cohort

Synonyms: Verb

ally, associate, band (together), club, coalesce, cohere, conjoin, cooperate, federate, league, unite

Antonyms: Verb

break up, disband

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Examples of confederate in a Sentence


the Yankees and the Confederates the police were able to track down his confederates once the thief started talking


the nations confederated in order to lower international trade barriers
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On the same night, Virginia Republicans nominated a hard-right Senate candidate, Corey Stewart, who has made racially charged attacks on immigrants and supported confederate symbols. Jonathan Tamari, Anchorage Daily News, "Primary results show the GOP is all in on Trump," 16 June 2018 Texas has the second highest number of confederate monuments of any states in the nation still left standing at 209. Doug Criss And Elizabeth Elkin, CNN, "The state leading the way in removing Confederate monuments? Texas," 5 June 2018 Alfred Brophy, a professor at the University of Alabama Law School, discusses the legal restrictions facing cities and towns that want to remove confederate monuments and memorials., "Bloomberg Law Brief: Legal Hurdles for Monument Removal (Audio)," 18 Aug. 2017 Debates raged over Dana Schutz’s abstract rendering of Emmett Till at the Whitney Biennial and the hundreds of confederate monuments throughout the nation. Lori Waxman,, "The year in visual art was a dizzying reflection of today," 14 Dec. 2017 Other lawmakers, most of them Democrats, have called for the plaque’s removal, along with a review of other confederate symbols around the Capitol grounds. Alejandra Matos, Houston Chronicle, "Abbott to ask for review of Confederate plaque in Capitol," 27 Oct. 2017 As Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie vie for the governor's seat in Virginia, confederate monuments have become a significant issue ahead of the November election. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "After Charlottesville, confederate statues become hot-button issue in Virginia governor's race," 27 Oct. 2017 His flag was paid for by the Virginia Flaggers, a group that flies confederate flags along highways across Virginia., "Virginia Woman Puts Up Black Lives Matter Flag In Opposition To Confederate flag," 30 Sep. 2017 Museum Executive Director Shawn Gladden said other artifacts in the exhibit include letters from Union soldiers who were county residents and weapons and other items used by both Union and Confederate soldiers. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "Where did it come from? The history of Howard County’s Confederate monument," 28 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Status of other controversial statues Removal and relocation of confederate statues has gained momentum in recent years. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Arts group will file appeal to fight removal of Castleman statue in Cherokee Triangle," 10 June 2019 And why involve confederates when doing so needlessly created witnesses to his own wrongdoing? Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Are Hate-Crime Laws Helping?," 22 Feb. 2019 However, the judge intends to reopen the case against Ali and his confederates. Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times, "Who’s killing Africa’s elephants? UW study identifies ivory trafficking cartels," 24 Sep. 2018 These days, confederate soldiers have been reported to still haunt the Central Burying Ground, says Baltrusis, who also runs the Boston Haunts ghost tour. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities In America and Why You Should Visit," 18 Oct. 2018 But as several critics pointed out on Twitter, Anders is in fact a right-wing activist with a history of supporting confederate monuments, the Tea Party and Ron Paul. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Does criticizing Trump make his base like him more?," 24 June 2018 Mueller is examining [the Russians’] potential American confederates for the crime of conspiracy -- or, as my colleagues in the media call it, collusion. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "You've got to work it," 5 Apr. 2018 Richmond, a former capital city of the Confederacy, is not the first city that chose to replace a confederate inspired school name with that of the first African-American president. Jamie Spain,, "Virginia School Named for Confederate General Changed to Barack Obama Elementary," 19 June 2018 The next year, a New Orleans contractor hired to remove confederate monuments faced not only death threats, but the torching of his $200,000 car. Jason Silverstein, The New Republic, "The Persistence of Whitewashing," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Should confederate monuments be preserved or destroyed? Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "Julie Mehretu Started Her Majestic New Paintings Right After The Election," 4 Sep. 2017 The Warren County monument is one of four memorials to confederate soldiers in Ohio., "Residents demand Confederate monument be returned," 22 Aug. 2017 The jury would not be allowed to know about Tensing’s Great Smoky Mountains confederate flag T-shirt. Brandon Harris, New Republic, "Searching for Justice for Samuel DuBose," 20 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confederate.' 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 confederate


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1531, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for confederate


Middle English confederat, from Late Latin confoederatus, past participle of confoederare to unite by a league, from Latin com- + foeder-, foedus compact — more at federal

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Time Traveler for confederate

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

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More Definitions for confederate



English Language Learners Definition of confederate

formal : a person who helps someone do something
: a soldier, citizen, or supporter of the Confederacy during the American Civil War


con·​fed·​er·​ate | \ kən-ˈfe-də-rət How to pronounce confederate (audio) \

Kids Definition of confederate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : united in a league
2 capitalized : of or relating to the southern Confederacy Her grandfather collected Confederate stamps.



Kids Definition of confederate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a member of a league of persons, parties, or states
3 capitalized : a soldier of or a person who sided with the southern Confederacy

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Comments on confederate

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