federal

adjective
fed·​er·​al | \ˈfe-d(ə-)rəl \

Definition of federal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : of or relating to a compact or treaty

2a : formed by a compact between political units that surrender their individual sovereignty to a central authority but retain limited residuary powers of government

b : of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial units

c : of or relating to the central government of a federation as distinguished from the governments of the constituent units

3 capitalized : advocating or friendly to the principle of a federal government with strong centralized powers especially : of or relating to the American Federalists

4 often capitalized : of, relating to, or loyal to the federal government or the Union armies of the U.S. in the American Civil War

5 capitalized : being or belonging to a style of architecture and decoration current in the U.S. following the American Revolution

Federal

noun

Definition of Federal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a supporter of the U.S. government in the Civil War especially : a soldier in the federal armies

2 : fed sense 1 usually used in plural The Federals arrested the smugglers.

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Other Words from federal

Adjective

federally \ ˈfe-​d(ə-​)rə-​lē \ adverb

Examples of federal in a Sentence

Adjective

We pay federal, state, and local taxes. The ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court. furniture made in the Federal style
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

According to a new report from the HHS inspector general, 20 of the 21 official trips taken by Price during his brief tenure violated federal travel regulations. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Auditor: Tom Price Owes Government $341,000 for Unauthorized Travel Expenses," 13 July 2018 The case raises issues of federal regulatory control and Alaska-specific statutes. Erica Martinson, Anchorage Daily News, "Sullivan meets Supreme Court nominee and says he’ll vote to confirm him," 13 July 2018 The plant has permits to extract more than 300,000 gallons of water a day as part of a decades-old deal with the federal government that critics say is overly favorable to the plant’s owners. Oscar Lopez, BostonGlobe.com, "In Mexican town, Coca-Cola is everywhere, and so is diabetes," 14 July 2018 Russia’s federal government, for example, sent about $550 million to Nizhny Novgorod, an industrial hub on the confluence of Volga and Oka rivers, to help finance a new airport as well as a metro station near the stadium, which opened this year. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Peeking Around Corners in the World Cup’s Provincial Cities," 14 July 2018 The state’s largest hospitals can bypass the state system by going through a much more expensive process of getting accredited by the federal government or a private third party. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "Hospitals fear Parson budget cut could endanger stroke, heart attack, trauma patients," 13 July 2018 The website was shut down by the federal government in April as a part of a law enforcement action involving the FBI and other agencies. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Lured To Newington Motel By Backpage.com Ad, Victim Robbed At Knifepoint, Police Say," 13 July 2018 Investments Risks: China retaliates by dumping its massive holdings of U.S. government bonds, a move that would likely boost borrowing costs in the U.S. for consumers, businesses and the federal government and cause tumult in financial markets. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 The federal government, meanwhile, plans to clean up a plume of cancer-causing solvent discovered beneath a former Kiel Bros. station that threatens drinking water near the Pence family's hometown. Brian Slodysko, Houston Chronicle, "Pence family gas stations left costly environmental legacy," 13 July 2018

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

Adjective

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for federal

Adjective

Latin foeder-, foedus compact, league; akin to Latin fidere to trust — more at bide

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Statistics for federal

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for federal

The first known use of federal was in 1624

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More Definitions for federal

federal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of federal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to a form of government in which power is shared between a central government and individual states, provinces, etc.

: of or relating to the central government

: of, relating to, or loyal to the federal government during the American Civil War

Federal

noun

English Language Learners Definition of Federal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a supporter of the government of the U.S. in the American Civil War; especially : a soldier in the federal armies

: a federal agent or officer

federal

adjective
fed·​er·​al | \ˈfe-də-rəl, ˈfe-drəl\

Kids Definition of federal

: relating to a nation formed by the union of several parts

federal

adjective
fed·​er·​al

Legal Definition of federal 

1 : of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial units (as states) a federal government

2 : of or relating to the central government of a federation as distinguished from the governments of the constituent territorial units (as states) especially : of or relating to the laws made and enforced by the federal government a federal crime

Other Words from federal

federally adverb

History and Etymology for federal

Latin foeder-, foedus compact, league

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More from Merriam-Webster on federal

Spanish Central: Translation of federal

Nglish: Translation of federal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of federal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on federal

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