Definition of federal
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 governmentb : of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial unitsc : 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
federallyplay \ˈfe-d(ə-)rə-lē\ adverb
Examples of federal in a Sentence
We pay federal, state, and local taxes.
The ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court.
furniture made in the Federal style
Recent Examples of federal from the Web
At this point, state and federal single-payer proposals appear mainly to embody the sweeping ambitions of a frustrated party, rather than to map a clear way forward on policy.
The Governor of Arkansas claimed that federal troops were leering in girls’ bathrooms on the pretext of protecting black students, a charge the White House vehemently denied.
But the federal restrictions do no apply to state and local police forces, most of which have not adopted the standard.
Ford said the first two men initially represented themselves as federal agents but may have been bounty hunters.
His Maryland lawyers are appealing in both state and federal court on the same grounds, and those cases are pending.
Normally, if the death of a federal prosecutor or agent were retaliatory in nature or related to a criminal case, both the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office would be sounding the alarm and pursuing an aggressive investigation.
All of which means Brand USA isn’t a traditional cost on the federal budget, supporters said.
After review by 13 different federal and state judges.
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.
Definition of Federal
1 : a supporter of the U.S. government in the Civil War; especially : a soldier in the federal armies
2 : fed 1 —usually used in plural The Federals arrested the smugglers.
First Known Use of federal
FEDERAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of federal for English Language Learners
: 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
Definition of Federal for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of federal for Students
: relating to a nation formed by the union of several parts
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
Origin and Etymology of federal
Latin foeder-, foedus compact, league
Seen and Heard
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